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SMYLY Patterns

Hello lovelies,

Today for the Minerva Crafts blog I wanted to introduce to all of you our new pattern company, SMYLY Patterns

SMYLY stands for Sewing Makes You Love Yourself and it was founded this year by me and my dear friend, Hattie. It all started as a social media challenge, aimed to start a conversation on how sewing can help women with body image issues and mental health. After the overwhelming response we had to the challenge, we decided to keep the SMYLY message alive and create our own sewing pattern company. 

 As we both believe that every woman is beautiful in her own way and regardless of her shape, heritage or age, we consider it our mission to create patterns for garments that emphasize this individual beauty. Through our designs we want to keep the promise that our brand’s name comes along with: that sewing makes you love yourself!

So far we have released three sewing patterns and our next one is coming along next month (if you fancy a sneak peek, you can subscribe to our newsletter to receive our summer/autumn lookbook, containing all of our upcoming pattern releases). We were really excited to have Minerva Crafts sponsoring the samples for our photoshoots and I thought it would be nice if I shared with you the fabrics we used for them. Ready?

The first pattern that I want to talk about is our Samantha Dress. This is a faux wrap jersey dress with two different versions. Version 1 features a shorter length skirt and cute bow ties at the sleeves. Version 2 comes with a collar and a separate tie belt that will cinch you in and flatter your figure. There are 2 sleeve options to the Samantha dress: short sleeves and ¾ length sleeves.

To make our samples we used the gorgeous, super high quality Art Gallery Jersey Fabrics that Minerva Crafts stock. I can’t praise these fabrics enough! Yes, they may be a bit expensive, but they are worth every penny you spend and they are without a doubt my favorite jersey to work with.

The next pattern we released was our beloved Abi Jumpsuit. This is the most versatile pattern in our collection as it features so many variations for different trouser options, different lengths and sleeves. The Abi jumpsuit has the same bodice as the Samantha dress and you can purchase a bundle of the 2 patterns on our website and make endless combinations.

And then we have our newest pattern release,our Lisa dress, which is the ultimate cotton summer dress. We are eyeing up all the amazing fabrics on Minerva Crafts to sew a million more Lisa dresses by the end of summer, as we both enjoy wearing this dress so much!

And last but not least, I wanted to share a tiny little sneak peak of our upcoming pattern, whose name I won’t reveal yet, but I will urge you to go to Minerva Crafts and search among their huge jersey collection they stock, because you will want to make as many versions as you possibly can with this one. It’s a goodie!

And that’s all I’m able to share with you for now. I hope that our fabric choices inspired you and that you like our sewing patterns as much as we do.

Happy sewing,



Simplicity Sweater 8529 by Jo

In the wintertime, I for one, crave comfort. Ok, ok, all the time, I crave comfort. On my list for this winter was a super soft sweatshirt for everyday, and this one delivers. 
The pattern is Simplicity 8529, which is a slightly different version of the famous Toaster Sweater by Sew House Seven, as licensed by Simplicity. The differences, I believe, are a drop shoulder, standard Simplicity sizing (I went a full size down, because it’s quite boxy anyway, and I always find Big 4 patterns to be roomier than their indie counterparts), and in addition to this shorter, half-funnel neck, there’s a crew neck as well. I also really like the larger funnel neck and raglan sleeves in the indie version, and would love to make that sometime. For me, the interesting neckline gives it just that little difference from something off the rack, but the star of the show here is this utterly beautiful French Terry fabric by Atelier Brunette. I can’t properly describe to you how soft it is. It’s luscious. Like a very fancy baby blanket. Or…the baby.
It’s not quite a turtleneck, but much cozier than a boatneck. It’s like wearing the most luxurious cozy pyjamas, all day. 
It’s also a really quick make! Mine came together over the course of an evening, after putting my kids to bed, including cutting. I decided that with this boxy shape, I would quite like it cropped, so I cut the main pieces to just below my natural waist. With the hem band, it sits slightly above high hip. I’ve been wearing it with thrashed mom-jeans to playdates and whatnot, but what it reminds me of most of all is those ridiculously expensive savasana sweatshirts you see from upmarket yoga boutiques. Where you’re like, “whoa, this sweatshirt is £100, but it’s literally the nicest sweatshirt I’ve ever seen.” And then have an existential crisis about overpriced yoga clothes. But still kinda want it. Well, now I can make it and not hate myself or go broke in the process! Sewing for the win! 
In terms of details, I sewed this sweatshirt entirely on my overlocker (no twin-needle hemming! Hurray!), and have only one niggle with the instructions; they have you folding over the neckline before sewing the shoulder seams. This means that the overlocked edge comes all the way to the opening at the neck, and a visible overlocked edge, even if just barely visible, is just a personal dislike of mine. Next time (and oh, there will be a next time), I will try sewing the shoulder seams first, then tacking the fold down by hand, seam allowance to seam allowance. Possibly less hard wearing, but then I get a completely clean finish. 
I honestly would make this again, exactly as is, in a different colorway. Or maybe try the other neckline. Matching lounge pants as well, perhaps? After all, I could swim in this fabric!
Thanks again for reading my guest post. Jo xx 

Tailoring the Neckline of Patterns with Claire-Louise Hardie

I’ve had a lot of students ask about how to change the necklines on their patterns, so I thought i’d create a little tutorial for you. The biggest issue, is that any changes you make to the neck, need to also be applied to the facing. Personally, I adjust the neckline and then re-cut a new facing pattern piece, so that’s what I’m gonna show you. The only time I wouldn’t do this, is if the neckline adjustment is very slight. In that instance, I’d apply the same adjustment to the original facing pattern piece.
In this image, you can see the original neckline which I felt was too high, and the new lower neckline I’ve drawn in once I’d tried it on and decided to lower it.
It’s really important that all new adjustments blend smoothly across any seams. I’ve laid the back shoulder next to the front shoulder to check that the new curve from the front blends smoothly into the original curve.

Once the main pattern piece has been adjusted, you’ll need to adjust the facing. In my example, I’ve only adjusted the front of the pattern, so it’s just the front facing pattern piece that needs to be adjusted. I’ve laid the facing over the adjusted front piece, and it’s now obvious that the front of the facing is now very short. Take a note of the facing depth at the shoulders, as this is how deep you’ll need to make the facing all the way around.

Trace the shoulder and new neckline onto a fresh piece of pattern/tracing paper. Then draw the outer edge of the facing piece, making sure it’s the same distance from the new neckline all the way around the piece.

Ta Dah!

Now both the front of the pattern and the new facing pattern have been adjusted with the new lower neckline. The shape of the alteration can be curved like this example, or could be a V shape too, in both options the principles are the same when you want to make an adjustment.

Ok, so in my first example the alteration didn’t change the shoulder at all, therefore the back neck wasn’t affected. But what happens if you need to “widen” the neckline as well as altering the shape or lowering it I hear you ask?

Good question… Read on and discover how to do this type of neck adjustment.

I’ve re-drawn my new neckline, which has really widened the opening and shortened the length of the shoulder.

Making sure to start at the same position on the back shoulder, re-draw a new back neckline. The shoulders should now be the same length. The curve should look smooth on the new back neckline. Make sure the junction at the shoulder isn’t too much of a point or spike!

Make a facing pattern for both the back and front using the same process I described in the previous example. It’s a good idea to give yourself some notches to help sew the pieces together.

Happy Stitching :)


How to Make Bust Adjustments on your Sewing Patterns by Claire-Louise Hardie

Struggle to get patterns to fit your bust? Try doing a small or a full bust adjustment to get a better fit.

As most commercial patterns are cut to fit an American B cup, you may need to make a full bust adjustment if you are bigger or smaller.

Whilst it can seem a little daunting to anyone new to pattern adjustments, this really can make a massive difference to how your clothes fit.

If you have a small frame, with a full bust, and you use your bust measurement to select a pattern size, the chances are that the clothes won’t fit around your neck, chest and armhole.

If you’re smaller busted, you may have unsightly excess fabric folding around the bust.

NB - The full and small bust technique was developed and originally published in Fit For Real People by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto.

If your full bust measurement is bigger than your high bust by more than 2.5” (6.5cm) you’ll need to do a full bust adjustment (FBA). In this case, use your high bust measurement as your base pattern size.

If your full bust measurement is 1”(2.5cm) or less than your high bust, then you’ll need to do a small bust adjustment (SBA). Use your full bust measurement as your pattern size in this case

There’s no exact science to measure how much of a bust adjustment you’ll need. It also depends on whether you’re making a loose-fitting garment.

First of all you need to work out how much additional space you require around the bust or what you’d like to remove. Below is a helpful chart to work out the amount.

The process of adapting the pattern for both types of adjustments are the same except that for an FBA, you will spread the pattern to add space and for an SBA you will reduce space by overlapping the pattern.

Full Bust Adjustment: Figs A-D

  • Lay the tissue pattern against yourself to establish where your bust point is. Mark onto the pattern with a cross.
  • Using a ruler and pencil, draw a vertical line from the marked point to the hem. Make sure the line is parallel to the grain line on the pattern.
  • From this line, draw a second line up towards the armhole, hitting the lower third of the armhole. Together these two lines are called line 1.
  • Draw a second line horizontally through the middle of the bust dart, meeting line 1 at the bust point. Label this line 2.
  • Draw a third line horizontal line a little above the hem between line 1 and the centre front of the pattern. Label this line 3
  • Cut along line 1 from the hem to the armhole, making sure you don’t cut all the way through the armhole. Leave a hinge so you can pivot the paper. The point of the dart has now swung away from its original position.
  • Cut through the line in the middle of the dart,again leave a little hinge at the tip of the dart so you can pivot.
  • Line up the cut edges of line 1 so they’ve been spread apart by the amount of your FBA. The edges should be parallel to one another. You’ll notice that your dart has now spread apart too and become bigger.
  • The lower edge of your hem no longer meets at the bottom, as the side that has been adjusted and is now longer. Cut the third line you drew, and spread apart until your hem is level.
  • Fill spaces with tracing paper, and stick in place.
Small Bust Adjustment

Draw in the lines as per an FBA adjustment. Cut the lines as previously instructed. Now we essentially perform the same process in reverse.

Swing the darted side of the pattern across the other side, by the desired SBA amount. Your waist and bust darts will both be reduced. The lower edge of the hem no longer meets at the bottom, as the side that has been adjusted is now shorter.

Cut the third line you drew, and overlap until your hem is level. Re-blend the lines around your adjusted bust dart.

Dont Forget!

Compare the front and back bodice pieces along the underarm seam – folding the bust dart out of the way – to ensure your bodice will be the same length the whole way around!


London Fashion Week Inspired Maxi Jacket

A couple of weeks ago I was offered the chance to review a stunning and unusual Fabric by Minerva Crafts. The fabric in question is the punched slinky satin dress fabric, and comes in a range of colours. As soon as I laid my eyes on the Burnt Orange version, I knew this fabric was for me! I snapped up 4m of it, with a plan forming in my head of what I would create.

After spotting a rusty orange coloured maxi waterfall jacket on Pinterest recently, I knew that this was the direction I wanted to go in. The jacket in question was worn to London Fashion Week, and styled with a very 70’s vibe. Dark blue flared jeans, a shirt, and this amazing orange jacket that I just couldn’t stop thinking about. Luckily, I even had a vintage 70’s pattern for a jacket that I thought would work. Fate!

My parcel arrived within days and as soon as I opened the package and saw the contents I was smitten. The colour of this fabric is delicious. The fabric itself, despite being an absolute steal at only £1.99 per metre, is such a great quality and looks very similar to silk – not the poor quality satins you often see at this price point.

This isn’t your regular satin. The fabric has been ‘punched’ all over, creating a very unusual perforated look. With the circular pieces of fabric still attached, it gives it lots of depth and texture, and really catches the light. This satin makes me think of high fashion fabrics, and something you would see swooshing down the catwalk. The burnt orange colour is really on-trend right now too, which only added to my love affair with this burnt orange beauty.

The pattern I chose is a very simple on with only 2 pattern pieces that I used. The jacket main, and the sleeves. This was handy as the holes in the fabric could be problematic when sewing, and so sewing as few seams as possible would be best. This jacket has only a back seam, and the shoulder and arm seams.

I used a very sharp needle and made sure I sewed very slowly and carefully. The fabric stitched together really well without the need of a walking foot which in my experience, is usually needed when sewing with something quite thin and slippery. I decided not to face or hem the edges of the fabric, I really liked the raw edge once cut. I simply added a little Fray Stop to the edges which did the trick nicely. Therefore, with such a simple pattern, and no hemming or facings in sight, this turned into an incredibly quick and simple project.

I haven’t made anything quite like this before, and it was my first foray into taking inspiration from current trends and putting my own spin on it. I am over the moon with the results. It’s really easy to wear and style, and the fabric hangs and drapes so nicely! I used 3m in total in the end, which takes the cost of the jacket to a shocking £5.97!

I styled my jacket with a pair of denim ninni culottes, a ruffled white shirt and some mustard platform heels. I wanted to do my own take on the original 70’s inspired outfit that gave me the initial idea for this jacket and I’m so in love with it. It swooshes and sways as you walk, and the shadows and textures created by the punched holes in the fabric give it such a high-end feel. A big tick in my box! This is the sort of jacket you can throw on over anything and instantly feel amazing. Plus, the colour is so rich and gorgeous – perfect for this time of year!

Thanks for reading,

Carly @ Lucky Sew and Sew


Prada Crepe Vogue 9235 by Simona

I am back with another product testing for the lovely team from Minerva Crafts.

This time I signed up to test their Prada Self Lined Crepe Fabric. I used it to make a middy dress from the Vogue Sewing Pattern 9235 which you can get from Minerva Crafts website as well.

On the Minerva Crafts shop the fabric is described as...

‘Fabulous quality Prada crepe suiting fabric. Self satin lined with a slight one way stretch across the width of the fabric. Because this fabric has a matt and shiny side, you can use either or a combination of both textures to create dramatic effects. This fabric is PU coated and both anti static and anti click, ensuring the highest quality for special garments. Beautifully soft with a lovely drape, perfect for jackets, dresses, skirts, trousers, waistcoats and more!’ 

It comes in 11 colours: aubergine, beige, black, cerise pink, dusky pink, ivory, jade, purple, red, royal blue and teal.

Originally I wanted to make a jump suit which needed 2.5 m of fabric. However later I changed my mind, but by then I already had the fabric. So although I would have made the maxi version, I had to make do with what I had. Being a kimono type bodice, I shortened to bodice in the sleeve area by 3 cm (this is a usual adjustment for me) and the skirt by 20 cm from the bottom of the hem to reduce the bulk of the skirt. This way my skirt is about knee length not as intended on the pattern on the top of the calf.

Before cutting into my fabric, which slips a little bit, I washed the fabric as I would with the finished garment. Then I tested my marking tools on a scrap of fabric. Originally used water erasable to mark it, but did not start to sew straight away. In one day the markings were gone. So I tested several types of marking tools on it. The best was the water erasable pen that stayed on for me to actually make my dress.

The fabric is surprisingly easy to sew with. Though it has drape, due to the crepe it’s quite stable. So it looks luxurious and easy to work with. Darts and pleats went in quite easy.

I did finish the raw edges of the seams as I constructed the dress. Some seams I left unfinished as I knew they would be hidden into the facings or turned over twice into a hem. Other edges I finished separately as they were to be pressed open. The fabric frays a little, not too much, but if you like your insides to be pretty as well, I think it is worth thinking about finishing the raw edges.

On many occasions I prefer thread tracing my hems, press and sew. I hurried through the thread tracing and the line was not straight. I suggest if you use the same technique to go slower on this part, the fabric tends to slide a bit when sewing on one layer, I found.

Once I put the dress on and looked at the back, I realised I chose the wrong type of zipper for this fabric. I decided to go for a normal zip. However the fabric is a bit to heavy and now think an invisible zip would have worked better. I just don’t fancy taking out the current one and replacing it.

Although when on the flat the zip is not exposed when I wear it I can see it. Good thing it’s in the back and with my hair I can hide it, which means I can leave with it.

As I felt there was a bit to much shine I used the wrong side of the fabric to make the sash. And to make it a bit different, without using a different fabric.

Though I shortened the bodice, when I tried the dress on, I felt that the V neck is way too indecent. And I’ll never dare wear the dress in public with a V neck that goes almost all the way to my waist. I thought that my modesty needs to be saved and hand stitched closed the centre seam by about 15cm.

Yes you can see my handiwork on the inside, but nothing is visible on the right side.

Although not all went to plan I do like my dress, and for now I’ll wear it with my hair falling on my back to hide the zipper mistake.

Here are my tips for working with Prada Crepe:

  • Though it does not look it, it is a heavier fabric. So think about what patterns work best with it and how many layers you need to sew. In my case the waist and the ties added a bit too much bulk.

  • Test your marking tools. Some water erasable pens disappear after a while.

  • Think about the closures you want to use. I think invisible zips are more suited for this type of fabric.

  • As the  fabric slides a little, I found thread tracing your hems helps. But go slow when sewing as this fabric seems to slide a bit more when sewing on one layer.

We would love to hear and see what you make if you use this fabric. Please share your makes with us. Tag @minervacrafts on Instagram and @minervafabrics on Twitter.

Like always, thank you so much for taking the time to read my review and happy shopping!

Love Simona



A Toast Inspired Work Wear Jacket for Breadcrumb Money

Hi guys! I’m super excited to be sharing a make here on the Minerva Crafts blog. I usually post over at Lucky Sew and Sew and it’s nice to take a little detour (who doesn’t love an adventure, right?).

I’ll be sharing with you my most favourite make in a long time. You know, one of those makes that just feels so totally you? This is one of those. It’s me all over.

I’ve recently started to sew more consciously, a really think about my sews in a more direct way. I rarely buy any clothes from the High Street these days and that’s due to a few facts. Firstly, fast fashion doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t want to feel the need to change my entire wardrobe every season. I’d much rather have a much more well-rounded wardrobe that can mix and match for every season. Secondly, I can’t guarantee that the workers who make the garments for these fast fashion chains are being paid a fair wage. Lastly, I like the challenge of taking inspiration from a fashion label, and seeing how much cheaper I can make my own version for. A massive plus point is that I can then guarantee that my me-made garments are being made with love and fuelled by coffee and biscuits, which is a bonus!

One of my favourite brands to lust over is Toast. I love literally everything from Toast so much. They have a very utilitarian, work wear, androgynous vibe that I totally dig. One of the things they do so well is the cord work jacket. Coming in usually around the £150 mark, this is one of those items that will always be in my online basket and not in my wardrobe.

So, I decided I’d try and make my own version! I searched for jacket patterns and stumbled across the Tello Jacket Sewing Pattern by Pauline and Alice, which was perfect for the look I was going for. I hadn’t used a Pauline and Alice pattern before so I was excited to try it.

For the fabric, I went for a stunning Needlecord Fabric in Teal, which I required 2m of. Unfortunately the teal colourway has now sold out, but there are plenty more Needlecord Fabrics to choose from at Minerva. I think this would also look lovely in black too, or a gorgeous denim. The needlecord has a lovely feel to it, with a good stable drape -perfect for my work wear jacket!

I chose 6 Grey Buttons for contrast, a blue Metal Zip for the pocket, and a scrap of cotton from my scrap box for the zipped pocket lining.

The pattern comes in a lovely card packet which has it’s own Pauline and Alice ribbon tag included inside for you to sew into your make. The pattern is printed on a thicker paper than other patterns I’ve used, so it would be great for tracing your pattern size from if you weren’t cut throat like me and just ruthlessly cut into it. The instructions come in a little booklet with lots of diagrams and also has other languages included. I loved the whole presentation of the pattern, the best pattern aesthetically that I’ve come across and I really dig the instruction booklet. Much easier to use than loose bits of paper which are easy to lose and a pain to re-fold!

The jacket itself isn’t lined, but it does have facings. There’s no interfacing to iron on either which makes me fall for this pattern even more. I love the little details that all add to the finished result. The back elbows are darted and topstitched, the pockets are topstitched too, as well as the back seam. All of those little finishing touches I really enjoy taking my time over. I made sure I pressed all of the seams well to get a nice crisp finish, and I used a bamboo point turner to make sure the edges on the collar are nice and crisp also.

There were certain aspects of the pattern that I was a little nervous about sewing. The zippered pocket for instance, and the button holes. In hindsight, there was absolutely nothing to worry about at all, and by just slowing down and concentrating on each step in the instructions, there were no hiccups at all along the way – a first for me!

The fabric was a dream to sew. I hardly had to use any pins when sewing because the nap of the needlecord pretty much stuck the fabric pieces together, so that only aided time-wise on this already speedy sew. I didn’t altar the pattern at all, and the sleeves are a little long on me. But really I didn’t mind as I prefer to roll the sleeves up anyway. Overall, the fit is spot on.

I am totally in love with this jacket. Like, really in love. My husband was so impressed when he saw it that he asked me how much I paid for it because thought it was actually from Toast! When I told him that I had made it myself, he was not only relieved that I hadn’t paid £150 for a jacket, but also really proud of me for making something that looks so professionally finished, by myself. I can’t take all the credit for that though, it’s all the finishing touches that have been so thoughtfully included in the pattern that add to the finished affect. But the star of the show is the fabric by far. It makes the jacket, it really does. It looks and feels like it could be jacket that costs hundreds of pounds, but the fabric cost less than a tenner for the whole thing!

The fabric, finishing touches and timelessness of this jacket have cemented this make as not only my favourite current make, but also a make that I’m sure will last the test of time – construction-wise and style-wise.

The supplies for this jacket (fabric, buttons, zip and pattern too) came in at under £30. Less than £30! For this dream jacket that I probably eventually would have paid £150 for, for a similar one at some point. However, instead of buying a jacket, I had the pleasure of sewing one, and will get the recurring pleasure of telling everyone who will listen for years to come, that I made this beautiful garment myself – for less than £30! That’s a me-made wardrobe win!

Thanks for reading!

Carly @ Lucky Sew and Sew


The Jenna Cardigan by Angelica

For a long time, I've dreamt of having a closet full of pretty little 50s dresses with matching petticoats, cropped cardigans, belt etc, and while lots of dresses and petticoats have come into my wardrobe, I have failed to find just the right cropped cardi.
It was not because cardigans were hard to come by, but I had a very specific cardigan in mind. It had to be fitted and cropped to waist length, with a wide waistband to really cinch me in. It had to have long, 3/4 or elbow length sleeves and lastly, I wanted it in EVERY color.
Enter: the Jenna Cardigan by Muse Patterns.
Counting the entire expansion bundle, this pattern offers 2 lengths, 2 bodice variations, 3 necklines and 11 different types and lengths of sleeves, giving you a total of 132 different cardigan combinations to choose from.
For my dream cardigan, I used the waist length bodice with the shoulder yoke, V-neckline, and the original 3/4 length sleeve. I went down a size in the hope of getting a more fitted cardi and thus made a straight size 36.
For the fabric, I was lucky enough to get 2 m of the premium quality cotton spandex stretch Jersey Fabric in a gorgeous navy blue to play with, and it was an absolute joy to sew up. It is a bit heavier than a regular jersey. It was very stable and has great recovery, perfect for my dream cardigan.
I also got some ButtonsSewing Thread and Iron On Interfacing for the project. I love how the buttons have some interest to them in the form of a subtle marl in the color but are plain enough not to be too distracting.
I sewed everything on my overlocker except the bodice-to-yoke-seam which is gathered. I sewed those seams on my regular machine and then overlocked it to finish the seam allowance. I only topstitched the button band, as I have seen a few versions online where the topstitching has stretched the seams out, and I kind of liked the clean look without the topstitching.
I did have to play around with the differential feed on the overlocker a bit. 2 layers of non-interfaced fabric needed a differential feed of almost 2 to lay flat, but it shifted the layers a bit at the start and end of each seam. Also, the interfaced part of the button band needed a differential feed of "Normal"/0. 
To combat this, I had the dial set on "Normal" at the beginning and end of each seam and for the button parts of the button band, and set on "2" for the rest of each seam. This way, all seams matched up and were perfectly flat. 
I tried the cardi on after sewing the hem band on to check the length and ended up shortening it by 2 cm. I did this by running the body-to-hem-band seam through the overlocker once more, trimming 1 cm off all layers. I also shortened each end of the neckband and one end of the neckband interfacing by 2 cm to make them fit with the shortened body of the cardi. 
However, this was before attaching the button band, and by the time the cardi was sewn up, it was noticably too large on me (see photo below). Cue major sad face. 
Luckily, I had plenty of leftover fabric to make another. The size 36 had only used about 90 cm of fabric, despite the official requirement of 1,5 meters.
For my second go, I sized down to a 34 bust - 32 waist based on the finished measurement chart. My natural waist measures about 74-75 cm, giving me 2-3 cm of negative ease. I also made the length adjustment on this version by narrowing the waistband by 2 cm and the bodice by 1. 
I think I could have gone down to a straight size 32, but oh well. The size 34/32 only took 85cm of fabric. 
A few other reviewers have found the Jenna Cardi to have very wide sleeves, and I will agree with them. For now, I have focused on getting the bodice rigth, but next time I will either make the sleeves and sleeve cuffs narrower or try the narrow sleeve from the expansion pack and add a simple cuff to it. 
A am SO much happier with my second version! The waist fits me exactly as I had envisioned it and the length is perfect. I LOVE the shoulder yoke detail, although there is still a smidge too much room under the arms and bust. 
I love that the final cardi takes less than a metre of fabric. Having found the perfect fabric for it in the Premium Jersey, I will have to order at least a few more colors to sew myself a rainbow of cardis. How lovely would it be in emerald green, bright red or soft pink? 
And while I'm at it, I might add some vintage-y patches on the yokes. I have seen it alot in the vintage shops and on the high street lately and love the trend. I love the idea of adding Initial PatchesFlower Patches or Bird Patches for some vintage flair.
On a leaving note, I'd like to thank Minerva Craft for the materials needed for this project. If you'd like to read more about the dress I'm wearing with the cardigan or any of my other makes, you can find it on my blog or on my instagram
Thanks for reading,

A Stripy Capri Tee from Erika Knight by Karen

Hello all! It’s Karen from Hyacinth Bloom again, here with another collaboration with the lovely people at Minerva Crafts. This time I was lucky enough to try out a Knitting Pattern by the popular designer Erika Knight.

The Pattern

I’ve always had a bit of a yearning to add some Erika Knight Designs to my knitting pattern collection. I really admire the simple but creative shapes of the garments she creates. They always seem to look so effortlessly casual and stylish on the pattern leaflet. The Capri Knitting Pattern which, after much dithering, I eventually chose, is a cropped length garment with short sleeves and a wide slash neck. It is knitted using two colours to create a bold stripe across both the body and sleeves. There were a couple of reasons why I decided on this pattern. Firstly, I have never actually knitted a tee before. In the past I’ve usually stuck to cardigans and jumpers full of wool for that all-important winter warmth. I quite liked, however, the idea of adding a thin layering piece to my autumn wardrobe. I had also seen a few stripy cotton knits on the high street and was inspired to have a go at making one myself.

The Yarn

I opted to knit my Capri tee in King Cole Bamboo Cotton DK Yarn (in the Navy and Denim colourways). The pattern calls for a Studio Linen Yarn, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted the challenge of using a rough fibre like linen (I have however since found out that this particular linen yarn is very soft, smooth and drapey, not rough at all like I was expecting). The cotton is also more budget friendly. The King Cole yarn gives roughly the same tension and stitch count as the linen would. It does, however, have a different texture and drape to what the original garment on the pattern leaflet shows. This was actually my first time using a cotton based yarn and I was really surprised by how soft and nice it was to work with. As I was knitting this in August (though admittedly an August in British summertime) it was much easier to knit without getting overly warm hands. The only slight irritation was the occasional fraying that seemed to occur halfway through a ball, but I will definitely be using a cotton yarn again in the future.

The Construction

I knitted the smallest size and used two balls of each of my chosen colours (four balls in total). I used the 3.25mm and 3.75mm needles suggested in the pattern instructions. As there were so many stitches for the body of the garment I found it easiest to use a Circular Knitting Needle. (Circular needles also make it a much more travel friendly project). The instructions are not particularly extensive, mainly because the construction is so simple. There is, however, a handy diagrammatic illustration alongside the written instructions. This is a great make for a novice knitter, as apart from a few decreases this is primarily just stocking stitch worked back and forth across the needles. The only aspect making it slightly more complicated is the change in colour. This was actually my first attempt at knitting a garment using multiple colours. I opted to cut my yarn and tie in the next colour as if it were the start of a new ball. Perhaps this wasn’t the neatest or most efficient way of doing it, but it was certainly very straightforward. The stripes are wide enough that there were not too many tails to sew in at the end. It is worth noting that that the edges are not finished in any way, which will result in a natural curling up. (Sewing a Grosgrain Ribbon to the back of these edges might reduce the curling, if it bothers you that much). The only change I made to the construction process was to reduce the length of the sleeves. I had to do this because at the end I was playing a bit of yarn chicken, and desperately didn’t want to run out.

The Result

The end garment is pretty much exactly as I imagined it would be. (That doesn’t always happen)! I deliberately chose the colours so that they would fit in with other projects that I have been sewing up for autumn. The shape is perhaps a bit extreme, but I think it will look good layered over shirts and leggings. The construction was so easy it was really relaxing and enjoyable to knit on. The long rows of stocking stitch were mindless, but the colour change of the stripes added just a bit of interest. It was a perfect travel project as I knitted almost half of the garment whilst on various train journeys. This Capri tee has certainly made me want to knit even more of Erika Knight’s patterns. I can’t wait to cast on something new!

Thanks for reading,

Karen @ Hyacinth Bloom


New Look 6396 Pattern Review by Allie

Hello! It’s Allie from The Aspiring Seamstress again. Today I’ll be reviewing a fun cape pattern, the New Look Sewing Pattern no 6396.

I was inspired to make a red cape by a character I saw on a tv show. This particular character is a fashion designer who designs clothing out of her parent's basement. Most of the clothes she wears are very stylish, there are a lot of things I’ll be making because of her! On one episode she had this beautiful drapey red cape on, it was only on screen for maybe five minutes but I instantly fell in love with it.

If you're curious to look it up, the show is called Last Man Standing. The cape in question appears in season 6, episode 14 at around 12:40. I tried finding a picture of it on Google but I couldn’t!

I chose New Look 6396 for the military style closures and shoulder epaulets on view A. There are three other views on this pattern; two longer capes, one with a fur collar and pockets (B). The other has one simple closure near the neckline and is collarless (C). The last view is a sweet little capelet (D).

This pattern wasn’t too difficult. It doesn’t require any fitting really which makes it perfect for a beginner sewist. It’s a great pattern to tackle if you're looking to practice understitching and topstitching as well as learn how to install a lining.

The techniques used in the pattern weren’t challenging by themselves (for me at least), I think the hard part was working with a slippery Lining Fabric and thick fabric. The closures and epaulets were made by sewing two pieces of the main fabric together, in my case that fabric was wool (it got quite bulky when layered!) which made it tricky to maneuver under my sewing machine foot and difficult to get the points nice and crisp.

I did make it through though and I’m very happy with how my cape turned out. The Boiled Wool Fabric I used is perfect, it’s got great movement to it and the color is just so vibrant. I’ve been loving vibrant reds lately.

I made a couple changes to the cape design. I’m not really a fan of the collar so I just left it off. I contemplated figuring out a different style of collar to use but in the end, I decided to leave it plain.

The other change I made has to do with the front closures. The pattern instructions want you to make the closures stationary on the right side by sewing the Heart Buttons on through all the thicknesses. I didn’t like the idea of being stuck with the same tabs forever.

Perhaps I’d like to change the color of them in the future. What if it’s not too cold of a day and I want to wear the cape open? Will the closures look odd flapping about (they do a little bit)?

So instead of making them permanent, I just made buttonholes on both sides of the closures. It wasn’t that hard to do and now I have the freedom to change up my cape look whenever I want too.

One thing I wish I would’ve noticed before cutting my fabric is the unnecessary back seam. I’m not sure why you don’t just cut the back pieces on the fold of the fabric, instead of the front pieces. You do use the back seam in the lining to turn the cape right side out, but couldn't this have been done using a side seam instead? I think the back of the cape would’ve looked better without the seam, but I suppose it’s not a huge deal.

Overall I enjoyed sewing up the New Look 6396, it was only a little challenging for me and I’m pleasantly surprised that I can make a cape! I think it’s a great basic cape pattern to have, it has a good variety of options and can be tweaked to fit your personal style preferences.

Thanks for having me here again!

Allie @ The Aspiring Seamstress

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