Posted in Projects on Sunday the 21st January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Today I’ve got a double whammy for you – not one but two new products to show you that I’ve been fortunate enough to test out recently for the Minerva Crafts blog.
First up is THE most amazing pleated Velvet Fabric. I’ve had a long love affair with velvet. There’s something that’s so luxurious about it. The depth of colour, the pile, the handle. It’s lush. Add in a few pleats to add even more depth to it and I’m sold.
The second item is a new Sewing Pattern release from Vogue, by designer Kathryn Brenne. A pullover jersey dress, with sleeve and skirt length options, a v-neck and a waterfall style skirt. What I love about this pattern is how it’s a relatively simple pattern, but made from the right fabrics you’ll have the perfect easy-wear show-stopper dress.
I thought that these two products put together would produce a great make. I’m not usually one to wear a dress, but the lure of the velvet enticed me. Mix that with an easy to sew pattern and you’ve pretty much got a winner.
The velvet comes in a delicious grey colour and also a rich, deep black. I decided to go for the black as I really don’t have that much solid black in my wardrobe (unusual considering I pretty much only wore black as a teenager!). Also because you can’t go wrong with a black dress can you? They’re so versatile and easy to style. Change up your shoes and accessories and it’s like a completely different outfit.
The pattern consists of only 3 main pattern pieces (front, back and sleeve), and a few facings. This made the cutting process fairly quick and very straight forward. I sewed the dress up without any alterations, and it all came together incredibly quickly and easily. The velvet is so easy to sew with – I didn’t even need to swap to my walking foot, my regular sewing foot worked a treat. The pile of the velvet pretty much stuck the pieces together as I was sewing, so I hardly used any pins as I was sewing this up too. I don’t know about you, but I find it incredibly rewarding to sew without the use of pins. I’m not sure if it’s because it makes the sew much quicker, or perhaps because it makes me feel like an absolute sewing-queen to not need pins!
I cut a size L going by my measurements but in hindsight I could probably have gotten away with a Medium. I tried on the dress once it was complete and it was a little large, and the sleeves quite long. I ended up chopping about 4 inches off the length of the sleeve and taking in the bodice by about 2 inches each side. I went from the underarm seam down to the flare at the waist side-seam and it was easy enough to do. It’s now more fitted on the bust and waist, which for a pear-shape like me, helps to balance out the proportions of the skirt. It is supposed to be a skimming fit throughout the mid-section which you can see on the pattern packet photographs of the samples, and if I made a smaller size I probably wouldn’t have had to bother with any alterations at all on the bodice, just the sleeve length. I am a little shorter than your average though (5ft 3”) and it’s not unusual for me to have to take some length from the sleeves. I cut view A which is a midi-length skirt and the length of the dress is perfect for me.
I’m really happy with my new black velvet party dress. The fabric was amazing to work with, and the pattern is a great addition to my stash. I’d love to use the grey version of the pleated velvet to perhaps make a simple gathered waist midi skirt. I’d also like to try the pattern again in a lighter weight jersey to make a simple dress for spring. I’m already planning new ways to use these two new products, so you know they’re a winner in my books!
Bye for now,
Carly @ Lucky Sew and Sew
What would happen if you let your children, aged nine and seven, choose their own Sewing Pattern? Instead of wondering, I let them peruse the Minerva Website with me and what a pearler they came up with, Simplicity 1332. The collection seemed to encompass a girl’s whole wardrobe needs in one pattern. Why had I been so apprehensive about letting them choose?
It is a superb pattern for taking beginners from the elastic skirt through to some beginner stretch sewing. I started with the skirts because they were easy, quick and fun.
You learn a great technique from this pattern for applying a layer of net just to the hem so that the whole skirt is not too scratchy; simple but very effective. The older girl chose some crochet lace to add to the hem of hers but really the world, or your left over stash, is your oyster.
Secondly, I tried the T-shirt. The pattern goes by chest size so you are not bound by a mystery size for a particular aged child which is great for us as my girls have slim waists and chest sizes but their arm and leg length is of their age. It was again quick to make. I used an overlocker but you could achieve just as successful results with a sewing machine. The pattern instructions hold your hand as you attach the neck binding with clear reading and supportive diagrams. This T-shirt pattern also cries out to use up left over pieces of jersey to make a fun, colourful version because the front and back is cut as two pieces, an upper and lower part. I will be trying that soon.
To ‘stretch’ my skills I made the jersey tiered-cardigan. Only really one step up from making the T-shirt but the frills need even gathers to give it a professional look. Making the pattern markings is key here as the frill pieces look very similar when cut but there is a side and front edge which are slightly different so do use a chalk or air erasable pen to transfer the markings. The only modification I made from the whole pattern was to add a ribbon tie on the front as there was not a fastening on the pattern and she didn’t want it flopping off her shoulders.
Finally, I squeezed a pair of leggings out of the last piece of jersey. Again, great for my little girl who has an impossibly small bottom for ready to wear leggings. We can never get the leg length and waist ratio comfortable for her. So this pattern worked up well. I will definitely be making these again in different colours.
This pattern goes from age 3 to 8 so you can dip in and out of it for a while making it great value in terms of money and cutting out time. It is perfect for selecting a garment to go with a RTW item to complete an outfit or you can go crazy like me and make the whole shebang. If you buy one girls sewing pattern this year I highly recommend not my expert choice, but my daughters’ personal choice: Simplicity 1332. The possibility of endless permutations will keep any girl’s wardrobe full from season to season for many years to come.
jo @ Three Stories High
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 18th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello there, a few weeks ago I was offered the chance to product review some wonderful Velvet Fabric from Minerva Crafts. The fabric is pleated texture stretch velvet velour, at first my plans were to make a skirt and top that could be interchangeable with the rest of my wardrobe but on seeing this fabric it had to be a dress.
I wanted a slight A-line at the bottom and originally fluted sleeves as these seem to be everywhere at the moment. The A-line stayed if maybe not as pronounced as I first imagined but the fluted sleeves had to come off. The style of fabric with this type of flare at the elbow made it look a bit gothic but that is just my opinion. I will have to try out my sleeves again on a different garment that isn’t black!
The fabric sewed up beautifully, lots of stretch so no need for fastenings, it left a bit of fuzz here and there but that is just velvet! No nasty fraying or anything like that and I loved the way it hemmed at the sleeve and bottom hem with just a gentle crinkle. It looks like I did something special but it is just the drape of the fabric.
I did have to adjust the hem slightly before hemming as it had been on the mannequin and dropped a little so be aware of this as you would if making a dress on the bias. It may be due to its multi way stretch.
The dress has thrown my plans for this evenings outfit as I love it so much! I was going to wear a green dress that I made with Minerva fabric a few weeks ago to a meal out tonight but after trying this one on I think the green one will take a back seat for now. I also feel that because it has such a luxurious look there is no need for fussy details on the garment, the pleat effect gives it all it needs along with the sheen.
This fabric could have been many different things hence why I didn’t stitch it up sooner; a jumpsuit was one idea, then a jacket. My mother in-law was certain it should be a jumpsuit but I’m happy with how it turned out.
Once the dress was finished I had a big piece left so I decided that would be an infinity scarf and maybe that could be a Christmas present for someone. Well I have decided to keep it as obviously it matches the dress. It will also finish off lots of outfits nicely over the coming cold months, am a being a selfish sewer? Who knows, I’ll just have to do more scarf making.
The process for making this dress was my usual piecing together of patterns I have already made, a top that fits me well along with an A-line skirt, the frill on the sleeve I made up as I went but then later removed. The neckline was finished with bias binding, a big thank you to Minerva Crafts for sending me this fabric to try out.
Dianne @ SewingGreenLady
It's a little weird having trends from my youth be back in style, but it's kind of fun to challenge myself to re-live those trends as an adult and wear them with a confidence and style that I probably lacked the first time around. Overalls definitely fit the bill. I wore them a bunch as a kid and never considered wearing them again. Until here they are again. On trend and making me itch for the challenge.
So I hopped back on the overall bandwagon with Kwik Sew 3897 Overall Sewing Pattern and a lovely floral Chambray Fabric. They make a pretty great combo, don't they? I think it's a success in terms of making the trend feel like me right now. And pre-teen me would be pretty jealous of the pair too!
The pattern is a nice, basic overall pattern. The cut isn't necessarily on trend as they are pretty loose, but that makes them easy to fit and comfortable to wear. What you get is what you see on the cover of the pattern and that's just about all you can ask for from a pattern. The pattern seemed well drafted with sufficient instructions.
The pattern does note that you should not grade between sizes and I would encourage you to listen to what it tells you. Grading between sizes would affect the shaping at the button plackets which could get pretty messy. I typically have to grade between different sizes at my bust, waist, and hips but that's not really necessary for these overalls since they are loosely fitted through the hips/legs and are free at the waist and bust. Choose your size based on your hips and the rest will work out. The pattern does include finished measurements so you can double-check size selection with those, though remember that you do need ease through the hip for comfort and for the style of the overalls.
While I often end up customizing or hacking a pattern as I go, I only made one (rather obvious) change to this pattern. I chopped the legs to make these shorts instead of pants. All I did was draw a new line straight across so it was just about as easy of a hack as I could make!
The pattern has quite a bit of topstitching which is fun to do in a topstitching thread in a color that will pop. You'll probably need two spools of topstitching thread so make sure you order enough!
I absolutely adore the floral chambray (unfortunately its now sold out at Minerva, but they have lots of alternative Chambray Fabrics to choose from). It's a lovely, bright print with a nice hand. Made into the loose-fitting overalls it works perfect for summer heat though I could easily see the chambray made into any of a variety of blouses instead.
The thing about knowing rules is knowing how to break them, right? I definitely broke some rules about fabric and pattern pairing with these overalls since the chambray really is a blouse weight instead of a bottom weight denim. It works okay with the overalls as I made them but I wouldn't use the fabric for long pants (where the knee can wear out) or fitted pants (where the fabric will receive more strain on the seams). Additionally, the Overall Hardware and Jeans Buttons are a bit heavy for this chambray so if I were to make recommendations for someone wanting to replicate the project, I'd suggest a pattern hack where the straps are permanently attached to the front bib so you don't have hardware.
One important tool when trying to make a lightweight fabric do the job of a heavyweight is interfacing. Make sure you use interfacing where recommended in the pattern. I used two layers of a midweight Woven Fusible Interfacing and it's going to be important in keeping the overalls from wearing out at the stress points like the buttons and back strap attachment points. Another tool you could consider is underlining. By using a second layer of fabric held back-to-back with your original fabric and treated as one (you can baste the layers together at the edges of the fabric), you end up with a new fabric with a hybrid of the original properties. Adding a broadcloth underlining would keep the visual lightness of the chambray but give you enough strength that the overalls will withstand more wear (and maybe even last as full length pants!).
Thanks for reading,
Erin @ Seamstress Erin
Posted in Projects on Monday the 15th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
These cute little paws are a Timeless Treasures Fabric. It’s an 100% cotton poplin quilting fabric that is a medium weight. The monochrome design is covered with little paws 1-1.5cm wide so a nice size design suitable for smaller projects as well as larger ones. I have used it here to make a small zipped purse and I have also used it as an exterior fabric for a larger tote.
To make the small purse I cut a rectangle of fabric with the narrow edge being an inch smaller than the zip. I cut another one the same size in both a lining fabric and a fleece fabric to use to interline the purse.
Placing the zip front side down on the narrow edge of the fabric I placed the lining and then the fleece on top.
Stitching all layers together before opening it flat.
This was the repeated at the other end so when open it looks like it forms two tubes.
A small strip of fabric was then made into a tube & turned to make a small strap to attach a key ring.
Pinning this strap on right side on fabric beside zip.
With the zip half open the fabric was then tuned so the lining was facing out & the exterior fabric was in the middle with sides together.
Laying flat so zip is flat near the top edge the size seams can then be sewn.
Turning out the right way the purse was finished…… a handy little phone case to keep with your keys :)
Thanks for reading,
Nicky @ Sew n Snip
Posted in Projects on Saturday the 13th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I've had once more the privillege of reviewing a gorgeous Timeless Treasures Poplin Cotton Quilting Fabric. This time I bring you Nessie, a loving and harmless sea monster, born in the seas of fabric at Minerva Crafts. Unfortunately Minerva have now sold out of this fabric but there are lots of similar Fabrics to choose from.
When Nessie isn't hiding in the deepest of the waters, she loves being petted and occasionally being ridden on.
I initially intended to turn the fabric into a kimono type of robe. At least I, would have loved one with this marble effect print and the metallic strokes. However, this would require more than the two metres I had asked for, so I quickly abandoned that idea. The more I looked at the print, the more it brought to mind the reflections of the sun on the sea and the colours that appear on its surface (here's that escapism again), which rendered it the perfect candidate for Nessie.
This sit-on cushion was a free project in issue 18 of Love Sewing Magazine and you can download the pattern here along with the tutorial. The project calls for felt and two yards of fabric, although I think 1.5 metres is enough, but better be safe than sorry. The pattern consists of two main body pieces, one belly piece and eight paw pieces.
This time I remembered to measure the fabric prior to washing and after and I am happy to report there was no shrinking.
I cut my fabric with scissors, some habits are hard to break, but I'm sure it can be easily and preciscely cut with a rotary cutter too, as it isn't slippery at all. Also, if you, unlike me, feel that pins aren't a necessity while sewing, you probably don't need to pin it either for the same reason.
I am not a quilter and have used quilting cottons only a couple of times before, but what is immediately noticeable with the Timeless Treasures quilting cotton, is how soft it is in comparison, without compromising its ability to keep a shape. So you shouldn't worry about it not being soft to the skin, if you are thinking of using it for chidren's projects like this one. Admittedly, I should have put a bit more stuffing in the neck area to make it sturdier. I used some scraps of fabric for the eyes and mouth.
Creasing is minimal, even after the washing machine treatment, and easily eliminated with a good press, that the fabric itself holds very well.
There is absolutely no fraying either, which is why I left the seams raw.
Nessie despite being always hungry, didn't eat up all the fabric, so with the leftover I sewed some pattern weights, since I've been wanting to make some for ever. I used the tutorial at Tea and a Sewing Machine and filled them with some rice, at least whatever rice my little monster didn't spread around the house. They were super easy and quick to make and they have proven handy a couple of times already.
Overall, this is another excellent quality fabric that I was very happy to have been able to review it. I think it's great both for small, like the pattern weights, projects but also for bigger ones, like the cushion. The print will definitely give an extra oumf to any quilt with its metallic finishes and would definitely recommend it for any type of soft furnishing. You can find the whole Timeless Treasures collection here.
Nessie has somehow managed to become a centre piece on my living room table and seems to be getting along with the rest of the toys.
Thanks for reading,
Vasiliki @ Delightfully Peculiar
Posted in Projects on Friday the 12th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 10th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I was drawn to the Butterick Walkaway dress by its fit and flare vintage style. I have never sewn a pattern from one of the big four patterns companies and thought this reproduction 1952 pattern would be the perfect one to start with. It requires a lot of fabric, miles of bias binding and three pattern pieces.
On receiving the pattern and looking at the style properly I wasn't sure that it was going to suit my large bust. Looking at other sewers versions on Instagram and Pinterest I knew I would have to make version B, one fabric, as using contrasting fabric would emphasise my large bust making it unflattering. I decided to make a wearable toile so went through my stash and found this cotton which I had kept for toile making. It has a directional pattern which isn't suitable for this pattern but keep reading to see how I overcome this issue. Minerva have lots of similar Geometric Print Cotton Fabrics you can choose from.
Let's start with the fitting. I have to do a large FBA and when looking at how people have managed to do this it sounded quite complicated and I didn't think it would work for me. I have recently perfected the fit of the French Navy Orla dress so decided to make the front piece of the pattern into two pieces using the Orla front bodice piece and attaching it to the skirt section of the front piece. I graded the Orla bodice so it continued with the side and back of the front piece.
Due to the directional print on the fabric I made the back skirt piece into a pleated skirt rather than a full circle skirt. For this I cut a width of the fabric to the length I wanted and made pattern matched pleats. There is a join in the skirt which isn't at the back or side seam but it is all pattern matched and I can't even remember whereabouts it is on the skirt! The pleated section needs to be the same length as the top back piece.
Once the two front pieces and two back pieces are joined to make two pieces they are then joined at the shoulder seams. The next alteration I wanted to make was to add sleeves. I prefer sleeves. Working out how to add sleeves confused me! I couldn't find anything online about how to do this. I decided on capped sleeves as the dress goes on over your head so regular sleeves wouldn't work.
And now for the binding. I also decided not to add the binding on the front side but to have it on the inside of the dress. Having a visible binding would really emphasis my large bust and I really didn't want that. Because of the patten of the fabric I didn't want a visible line of stitches around to I had a crazy moment and decided to hand stitch all 9 metres of binding! It was definitely worth it as the finish is super neat.
Yep you've guessed it I also changed the fastenings! I was worried that the back fastening of one button wouldn't be secure enough so I added three to the back with button holes rather than loops. At the front due to the seam I was only able to add two buttons. Both lots of fastenings feel really secure.
The idea of this Sewing Pattern is that you start sewing after breakfast and can "walkaway" in it later on that day. This definitely look longer than that! For a wearable toile I am really happy with it. I know I have made a lot of changes but I think that it has kept within the original style and has given me a better fit than if I had used the original pattern pieces. I will definitely be making another with the full circle skirt. I'm thinking a small non directional flower print would make a lovely spring/summer dress. The next version will defiantly be quicker now all the alterations are worked out!
Thanks for reading,
Georgina @ Sew in the Garden
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 9th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Monday the 8th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod