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Faux Suede Audrey Jacket

Yay, another project, and this time I get to do something I have never used or felt before so I am taking a chance on what it will feel like when the fabric arrives for the pattern I have chosen.

I have always wanted to make a denim jacket, but thought they will never look good on me, but when I saw this Faux Suede Fabric in dark grey, I thought, “hey, why not!” Let’s give it a go and make some totally different and out of my comfort zone and something I can wear all the time that can go with most things. The pattern I chose to make is the Audrey Jacket by Seamwork patterns.

When the fabric arrived, I was a little bit, well not disappointed, but let’s say it was not what I was expecting. Too be honest, I don’t know what I was expecting, but I thought suede was a little firmer and this fabric is quite soft. I had to use firm interfacing for the collar, cuffs and placket of my jacket.

Minerva recommend washing at 40 degrees but I only washed at 30 degrees on a 15 minute cycle. I then shoved my Suedette fabric in the tumble dryer on low heat to dry. I like to put most my fabrics in my dryer as this is how we wash and dry our clothes, therefore I like to see/test the fabric before cutting how it holds up and also pre-shrink it.

I would not say that this fabric is very drapey but it has a slight drape to it. Not enough for a dress of a skirt.

As for the nap, I did not worry about my pattern placement as I did not feel that it made much of a difference to me. The fabric felt soft to the touch either way I moved/stroked.

Pinning and cutting out were just as easy, I had no problems with this fabric shifting. I find that it actually stuck itself together when rights toughed.

Because the pattern called for flat felled seams, and a lot of top stitching, my over locker did not come out and get used once.

There was however, a lot and I mean a ton of un-picking done. If you are going to top stitch, try not to use a matching colour to your fabric that is difficult to see, and try go straight. That is my only tip for you.

When I finally completed the jacket, I was really impressed with both the fabric choice and colour. It is more of a spring/summer and early autumn jacket. Defiantly not winter as there is nothing to insulate and keep you warm, but I absolutely love it.

I will be and have been wearing my jacket non-stop and when someone asked wear I bought it from…. Well there is no greater feeling than saying “I MADE IT!”

Thanks for reading, until next time, Happy sewing.

Thanks for reading,

Justine @justaboutcrafting


A Rosa Shirtdress by Tilly and the Buttons

I love a shirtdress. If you take a peek at my Instagram feed you’ll probably soon realise that my wardrobe is 90% shirtdresses. (I particularly like 6696 by McCalls, the Vintage Shirt Dress by Sew Over It, and 8014 by Simplicity). It is no surprise, therefore, that I was instantly drawn to the Rosa pattern by Tilly and the Buttons.

Rosa is a princess-seamed fitted shirtdress without a waist seam. It has a ‘proper’ collar with collar stand, pockets and three-quarter length sleeves. The pattern has lots of nice details including a shaped back yoke and plenty of scope for personalising the dress with top-stitching or piping. It was the words ‘princess-seamed’, however, which had originally made me think twice about making this pattern. My one and only attempt at a princess-seamed bodice had gone quite dreadfully wrong in the past and I wasn’t exactly eager to repeat the experience. Yet, if anyone could help me overcome my fear of princess-seams, it was Tilly.

As with all of Tilly’s Sewing Patterns the Rosa shirtdress comes with a fully illustrated instruction booklet. Each step of the construction has a written explanation and an accompanying coloured photograph. Not only are the instructions incredibly clear and easy to follow, but the pattern pieces themselves are helpfully labelled. The sleeves, for example, have notations on them which tell you what is the back and what is the front. To my great relief each of the main dress pieces were also thoroughly labelled to indicate the order in which the various bodice sections were meant to fit together. There are also plenty of notches to help you line up those dreaded princess-seams.

Due to my (irrational) fear of princess-seams I decided that I would make a toile of the Rosa dress first. I wanted to practice the various techniques in the pattern – like princess-seams and mock flat-felled seams – before cutting into any precious fabrics in my stash. I also wanted to see how fitted ‘fitted’ really was. As such I decided to use a plain navy Polycotton Fabric. This fabric is very reasonably priced and has a great many uses. It is a perfect beginner-friendly fabric as it is very stable to cut and sew. It could also be used as a lining fabric or, as I did, a toile fabric. Along with the fabric I also used grey Sewing Thread for the contrasting top-stitching. To finish the dress off I used some Fish-Eye Buttons in a similar colour to my fabric.

Guided by the measurements in the instruction booklet I opted to make a Size 3 (roughly a UK size 10). I would say it sews up pretty true to size, but is maybe a little more fitted than I am usually comfortable wearing. It is also worth noting that the dress is quite short (for reference I’m about 5’ 6’’). This is not necessarily the easiest shirtdress pattern I have tried. There are quite a few fiddly bits that need to be cut or sewn with great precision, such as the shaped back yoke. The pockets are also quite small pattern pieces to sew and iron without damaging your fingertips. There is also a great deal of top-stitching, which can be rather tricky, but I do think really enhance the style lines of the dress. (Perhaps using a matching rather than contrasting thread would make any wobbles in the top-stitching less obvious). The Rosa dress is certainly an involved make, but ultimately a rewarding one. If you take your time (and make sure you have lots of tea breaks!) it is certainly manageable by a confident beginner.

Overall, I am pleased with how my dress has turned out. The princess-seams were not the disaster I had been dreading and I think the style of the dress actually suits me. I will definitely be making this dress again in the not too distant future. I am already imagining it made up in a mid-blue Denim Fabric or a rich autumnal coloured Needlecord Fabric. For anyone who is nervous of shirtdresses or princess-seams I would recommend giving the Rosa pattern a try. There is no one better than Tilly to help you through seemingly complicated construction steps and you always end up with a garment to be proud of at the end.

Thank you to Minerva Crafts for letting me try out this pattern and face my princess-seam fears – and thanks everybody for reading!


Spotty Sasha Trousers

Hello everyone and welcome back… It’s been a while and I have been busy. But now let’s just get down to business shall we? I received this dotted Twill Fabric from Minerva Crafts to review here on their blog. The first thought that came into my head was to make another pair of SOI ultimate trousers with them but then all the things came to mind, why I’d rather try a different pattern. So I started to do some research. I wanted trousers that are ‚fancy‘ which means I need to be able to wear them for work. The usual dress-code in the office is called ‚smart casual‘ so I almost have endless options. I wanted slashed front pockets and back pockets with welts. Enter the Sasha Trousers by ClosetCase Patterns!
I made a size 16 graded to an 18 at the hips but made no changes otherwise. I washed the fabric 30 C degrees and even put it in the dryer on low heat. No this does not correspond with the fabric recommendations on Minerva’s website but I for one like the option to toss my clothes in the dryer when necessary. Usually I don’t. But if I had not pretreated my fabric this way I would never have the option to use the quick and dirty method laundry-wise :-)
The amount of stretch this beauty has is just enough for the Sasha Trousers so I immediately started cutting. There are a lot of pieces to this pair of trousers so take extra care to transfer all your markings etc.
You start off on the back pieces with inserting the back welt pockets. Let me tell you: Take extra care that the dart absolutely does not go further than the pocket. With my pair it did and I did not bother do redo them as I should have. The result is not too bad, I will still be able to wear them but once you cut the welt pockets open there is no way to fix this anymore. On the picture below you can see the pocket openings from right and the wrong side.
Next, you add the welts and this is how it should look. The instructions that Heather-Lou wrote are amazing so don’t worry.
Then you sew the front slashed pockets in. I loooove slashed pockets. You know there is an ongoing‚ battle of beliefs in the sewing community whether or not to add pockets to everything. Don’t get me wrong, I like pockets as much as the next girl but I despise inseam pockets. I never seam to get them right and they always gape open. Not flattering at all. But hey, maybe I’m doing them wrong. Anyway - slash pockets? I’m down! Easy enough to install and in my opinion ergonomically positioned - no gaping!
Don’t worry about inserting the fly front zipper. It’s easy enough and well described in the instructions. If you are still in doubt go check out Heather-Lou’s tutorial on the ClosetCase website. On the next picture you can see my inserted zipper. The fly cover is not on yet.
After you attached the fly cover it’s time to get to topstitching! Because you have to take care to catch the zipper tape underneath I left the zipperfoot on and did my topstitching with it.
There you go - the fly front is finished:
Sew together the front and the back and attach the waistband. You will need to finish the facing piece of the waistband beforehand and I did it with some selfmade bias tape in red with white polka dots on it. Polka dots all the way!
Go on and sew on your button (which you will not see from the outside) and your hook and bar.
You’re done!
The fabric honestly was very easy to work with but I did all my regular sewing with a walking foot. Why? I generally use with when sewing with stretchy fabric or multiple layers of fabric. It really helps to feed everything through it evenly.
These are my finished pants. Yup, that’s my butt ;-)
Happy sewing my friends. Until next time! I’m gonna sew up some Carolyn PJs in a stunning Art Gallery Fabric.
Nadine @ heartpleat

Free Caddy Tutorial

If you are just starting out on your sewing journey this is a brilliant beginner project however if you are more experienced this is one of those fab freebie tutorials that you can customise and add your own flare. You can find the instructions in the shop section at Just Jude Design but it is free. There isn’t anything to print out, it simply includes a cutting list, so you can make this even if you don’t have a printer.

I had a piece of light weight chambray in my stash which matched nicely with the accents of blue in this pretty 100% Cotton Poplin Fabric. I am a big fan of the denim look but you could use a more subtle toning fabric if you prefer.

I should point out that the instructions suggest using 505 basting spray but I don’t have any at the moment so I didn’t use it. My Vilene interfacing is iron on and I quilted my wadding on to the outer fabric which actually removed the need for the spray. It’s personal preference really but don’t let the lack of it put you off making the caddy.

Before you start you have choices to make. I would base these purely on how much time you have available because even if this is your first project you can have a go at quilting if you take it steady. You need to decide how firm you want the sides of your caddy and whether you are going to quilt the outer pieces because this has an impact on the rest of the materials you need to use. I chose Vilene H250 interface to stabilise the outer pieces, including the pocket piece, which is quite firm when ironed in place. I wanted a plush feel so I used Hobbs Heirloom Premium Batting to pad the outer pieces. I’ve usually got plenty of left over pieces of this but it is not iron on. You could use a Fusible Fleece instead and then you wouldn’t need to sew quilting lines to attach the wadding to the outer panels. You can also use Bosal In R Form which is stiffer than wadding and gives a much more rigid finished product.

I cut my outer panel fabric, interface and wadding slightly bigger than the required size because quilting it can change the finished measurement, it was unlikely to have much impact in this case but it’s a good habit to get in to. I use a Pilot Frixion pen to mark out where I need to stitch my quilting and this comes with a health warning. The Frixion pen is heat erasable and so the idea is that when the heat of your iron touches the pen marks they disappear however it wasn’t strictly made for sewing which means that it can mark dark fabrics so stick to your chalk for these and a few people have reported that marks can reappear so if you are putting them in places where they might be seen, like we are in this case, use it sparingly. I used it with my ruler to make a dotted line leaving a gap of about an inch between dots but if you are a beginner it wouldn’t hurt to put your dots a little closer together. Having said all that I use mine all the time for quilting, dressmaking and bag making, it’s so handy, and I haven’t had any mishaps. You might have a little metal guide, that came with your sewing machine and slots in to your presser foot ankle, which can be set to run along your existing row of stitches to help guide you when you sew your next line. This is a cheaper method as you don’t have to buy the pen but I find my eye sight to be a little on the unreliable side these days so I find it easier to be focusing on the presser foot with the dots in front of it.

Once the outer panels are quilted and trimmed the caddy comes together very quickly which is where my point about your time comes in. If you are making this as a gift box at the last minute you can pad it nicely with wadding but skip the quilting and have it whipped up super fast.

I have a feeling this one will be claimed by a certain little lady for her hair brushes and scrunchies but as soon as I get chance I think It would be useful to make one for my sewing stuff. It would also make a lovely container to pack gift items in and you could leave the pocket off if you wanted to. Why not shrink it down and do a half size version?

There are endless ways to have fun with this.

I used the pink version of this versatile 100% Cotton Fabric but it is also available with either a blue or an ivory background. If you don’t have the need for ballerina fabric however there is still a huge range of Cotton Poplin available at Minerva Crafts which is worth having a look at.

Thanks for reading,

Sue @craftysue103


Vogue 9252 Crepe Back Dupion Dress

Hey there

I’m back this month with a review on the delicious Crepe Back Dupion Fabric in Alexandra Pink. Well…what can I say! As soon as it arrived I knew I wanted to make something a little special. That was until my husband saw it and asked me if I was making a dressing gown…cue a few insults being thrown his way and more than a few eye rolls!! So then I start to question my choice and wonder if it should become something else. But I had my heart set on a posh frock (not that I’m currently going anywhere to wear it I might add) but you know, why not! This was my inspiration (see pic below) but being a sewist I would never dream of paying that amount for a rtw dress. Now that amount on fabric….well that’s a different story!

So I set about finding the “perfect pattern” for my lovely posh frock! I eventually, after much procrastination decided on Vogue 9252 and after much consideration with my daughter, we decided that I would go for the shiny side of the fabric. I have to say this is my first time using a Vogue pattern and I wouldn’t hesitate in using more Vogue patterns.

As soon as the fabric was pre washed I wanted to get it cut out and get my dress started on. Well, let’s just say that things didn’t go to plan and I was devastated! I placed the pattern pieces on the fabric and all was good. Except it wasn’t! I’d missed out the front centre panel of the skirt!! I figured I’d be able to line the bodice in something different and get the outer bodice from the offcuts. Well this wasn’t to be either. I spent all morning dithering and worrying myself silly that I’d ruined this lovely fabric that had been kindly sent to me from Minerva Crafts. Then I had a brainwave!! It happens occasionally! I’d recently bought another fabric which was mainly white background but had some pinks on it too. So off I went hoping and praying I could do something with this lovely fabric. Fortunately, the fabric in my stash was a perfect match. My only concern was that it was a stretch cotton and definitely heavier than the crepe dupion. I’d no need worry as the fabrics work perfectly together despite their weight differences.

So, I went with it and decided I couldn’t do anything else. So all cut, I did some test stiches and decided that the only correct needle would be a Sharps fine needle. I didn’t want any laddering of the fabric. I also changed stitch length 3.5 as felt it pulled slightly with the smaller stitches. This dress was gonna be special. I know I know I’m gushing already but I am in love with it! Can you tell haha?? I feel like this has been my best make to date!!

After putting both fabrics together I decided it would be better to go with the reverse matt side of the fabric as I felt it was a nicer combination. The bodice came together quite quickly and I made sure to clip the seams as per the instructions. As in all my makes, I used the clapper when pressing as I feel it gives a more crisp finish.

The dress is fully lined and I managed to get the lining out of the original crepe back dupion. The satin feels so luxurious on my skin.

I also decided that I would use an invisible zip as I prefer them to a normal zip. I think they look a lot neater. Fortunately I managed to get the zip in first time with no unpicking and lined up perfectly. Phew!!

The dress didn’t take all that long to sew together and the fabric was an absolute dream to sew with. It washed perfectly in the pre wash too. The seams do need finishing off or they will fray but I just used a matching cotton and my over locker. I will definitely use this fabric again and already have my eye on some of the other colour ways!

I can’t wait to have an occasion to wear this gorgeousness. I tried to capture just how swirly the skirt is. It does have a lot of fabric in it but I think that’s what makes the dress. Who knows maybe a matching bag with the left over scraps might be on the horizon to complete the outfit along with my dusky pink Ted Baker heels.

Hope you like this dress as much as I do.

Until next time, happy sewing!!

Lisa x



Crepe Fabric Seamwork Monroe Trousers

I chose to make the Seamwork Monroe trousers with this fab patterned Crepe Fabric – it reminds me of a scarf print and I thought that some wide leg trousers would look great on holiday. The crepe has a beautiful drape and is perfect for wide trousers, loose fitting tops or dresses.
I haven’t sewn with crepe before, but it turned out to be easier than I expected: it’s worth having plenty of space to spread out the fabric so it doesn’t overhang the table and distort the fabric, but once I had cut the pieces it was really easy to handle. It washes well and only needs a little iron to look perfect.
The Monroe trousers are described as a wide-legged lounge pant with a shaped yoke and popper closure. Before sewing the trousers I made a wearable toile of the shorts version to check the fit. I found that I didn’t need to make any adjustments, but I was a bit worried about the popper closure in case they spontaneously burst open! I decided to use an invisible zip instead to make sure they stayed put. To make this change I sewed the outer yoke pieces to the trouser legs, then attached the yoke facing pieces along the waist line rather than constructing the yoke as in the instructions. All I had to do then was put a zip on one side and secure the yoke facing to make sure it stays in place.
Making this change to the closure made them even quicker to sew – no sewing poppers on by hand! I had to leave off the bottom cuff detail as the trousers would have been trailing on the ground if I had added it.
I’ve always loved wearing wide leg trousers, they are so comfortable for hot days, but I found that because these have a deep yoke they are quite warm around the waist. I’m also not massively comfortable about showing off my waist after two pregnancies! I would love to try a different wide leg trouser pattern – the Portobello trousers by Nina Lee look similar to the Monroes, but have a regular waistband, which I suspect would suit me better.
Having worn them a couple of times I think I may remove the yoke and change it to a narrow waistband, then add a bottom cuff if they are too short. I’ve used quite a few Seamwork patterns and mostly they have been great, but I think the style of this one is just not quite right for me. I really want to make them work as they look so good with just a plain t shirt and statement necklace – it looks like you’ve made an effort when you just threw them on!
Thanks for reading,

Simple Sew & Vogue Hi Low Dress Hack

This month I have the pleasure of trying out this beautiful brocade like suiting Fabric from Minerva. I first fell in love with it on Instagram and was over the moon excited when it was offered to me. This beautiful fabric is rather thick but still rather translucent. It is double sided with one side being embossed with daisies and neon pink dots and the other is a rather striking neon and white striped with white dots. After gazing at it for a bit I battled with what I wanted to make to showcase the double sided wonder of this fabric. Finally I decided on a high-low dress to show off the stripy side as I kept the embossed daisies as the front. I have always loved a boat neck dress, so I ended up pattern mashing a Vogue and Simple Sew pattern to create a high low cocktail dress. I also added pockets because dresses without pockets are just lacking… I am so happy Vogue understands this and include in seam pocket options.

The Patterns I ended up using from my stash were the Ruby dress from Simple Sew and a high low dress pattern from Vogue. The Vogue Pattern specified a lighter weight fabric such as satin, rayon and linen blends but I can only say I was glad I took the gamble! The resultant effect was a high low skirt with beautiful drape but also some structure which I thought really showcased the fabric’s unique qualities. I made sure to check that the skirt was not gathered because that would have added too much bulk.

The bodice sits higher in the Simple Sew pattern but I figured this would shorten the skirt to sit above my knees so I did not end up modifying the bodice length. I measured the bodice width to the skirt width but somewhere I must have gone wrong (lesson kiddos, when you are tired late at night, just stop and go to sleep…). I got round this by cutting another cm or so from the top of my assembled skirt until it was roughly the same length as the bodice width. It was still a bit off so I put gathers in two of the back panels to make the skirt fit the bodice without too much puckering. Basically I was meant to have measured the bodice front (minus pintucks) and back diameter/width and make sure the skirt waistband measured the same. Where did I go wrong? I have no idea, I think I should have taken my own advice and gone to bed earlier…

A note on paper patterns - I never knew how much more I learned from PDF patterns until I tried sewing up from the instructions provided by Vogue and Simple Sew. Whilst the Vogue instructions were easy to follow up until zipper insertion, the Simple Sew instructions were sparse to the point of being almost useless in some points. Both failed to specify to finish certain seams before the next step, i.e. adding pockets which have historically put me in a fix. I also had to look up online about the seam allowance for the Ruby dress since it was not specified anywhere in the pattern. Another thing I am grateful for to PDF patterns if their tendency to include all sizes. Post children I annoyingly fall between a size 14/16 in Vogue patterns but Vogue sell two size ranges (6-14 and 16- 22) so I would have to buy both patterns if I did not know how to do some basic grading. I decided to insert an invisible zipper instead of a standard so used my invisible zipper insertions technique which I learned from another PDF pattern. I think sandwiched zippers give a professional clean finish and saves on hand slip stitching the facing in place. From a person who detests hand sewing this is a big win for me! If you want to sandwich your zip then basically flip the facing up and over the zipper so the zipper is sandwiched between facing and bodice right sides together then sew in place and clip the corners and turn right way round. I first found out how to do this from the Montrose dress by E + E patterns but if you want to find out more I am sure plenty of Youtube videos are available on sandwiched zippers. I forgot and blindly followed the Simple Sew instructions so I opted for a partial zipper and closed the top with and hook and eye fastening. I liked how it looked so did not opt to unstitch in the end. One thing I hate more than hand sewing is unpicking stitches! Unfortunately I still spend too much time with my stitch unpicker so whenever possible I try to escape.

The fabric itself was easy to work with. It is a good weight and I could just use a standard sewing needle to sew with since it was quite soft. I did try hard to handle it gently as it does have a tendency to fray a little more than a woven cotton poplin, but not so much that I felt I needed to serge every seam beforehand. In future I will use a full lining in the bodice and a half skirt lining since the fabric was much more see through than I anticipated! When I first did fittings I noticed that I could see my bra and my dear husband pointed out I was wearing the wrong pants for my last minute photo shoot… Fortunately I hope it is not obvious in the photos I am sharing with you! I used a ‘cotton’ setting on the iron to set the seams and crease because the synthetic setting was not strong enough. According to the website this is washable at 40C on delicate so it is also an easy to care for fabric. I am so in love with the result! This is the first dress in a while that has made me feel chic so I now I just need to find somewhere to wear it…

Thank you all for reading and please follow my beautifully haphazard journey on Instagram @madameshannanigans. See you later!


Handmade Jeans and Velvet Top

Today I am reviewing two completely different fabrics, made into one complete outfit. The pattern I used for both garments is Simplicity 8342
The first fabric is a gorgeous, soft, stretch Velvet in the colour magenta. I chose to make top view B with a cute tie front and small cap sleeves. I cut my size according to the measurements on the envelope, in this case a size 16. I looked everywhere on the envelope and pattern, but could not find finished sizes for the top. As Simplicity are one of the big four famous for adding excessive amounts of ease into their patterns, I thought it best to make a toile before cutting into the velvet. I’m so glad I did as the top was huge! I had to instead cut out a size 12 (much smaller than my actual measurements) and make an additional swayback adjustment. The top has a centre back seam so the swayback adjustment was super simple. I usually have to make full bust adjustments as well but as this top ties in the front, I didn’t bother. It does sit slightly higher up on the bust than I would like, but not enough to worry about. 
For construction, I used a stretch needle and a walking foot. As you would expect from stretch velvet, it can shift around during sewing so using lots of pins or clips definitely helps. The top went together quite easily and very quickly. Although using the instructions leaves you with rather a messy inside. If I was to make this again, I would like to try a different method of construction to try and hide some of the seams and raw edges. Since the velvet doesn’t fray, it’s not too much of a problem. 
The finished top is lovely. It fits well, it’s comfortable and has just the right amount of stretch. The sleeves fit nicely on the edge of my shoulders, but do end up slipping off every now and then. Not a big problem, more of an annoyance. 
The velvet is really nice to work with and is fairly easy to sew for a stretch fabric. It’s a beautiful colour and really soft. (One of those fabrics you can’t help but keep stroking). One thing you need to remember is to make sure you cut all your fabric pieces with the nap of the velvet going in the same direction. The pattern you choose should give the fabric amounts required with nap. 
The second item I made was a pair of capri jeans in a light/medium weight Stretch Denim. The colour is dark blue and there is just enough stretch for the trousers to be fitted but still comfortable. 
For the trousers, unlike the top, the finished measurements are included on the pattern pieces. According to the size chart, I needed to cut a size 18. Unlike the top, these turned out almost the right size but still needed a few tweaks. Again I made a toile and ended up removing 3/4” from both the front and back pieces at the waist. I made the back darts larger by 1/8” each, added 1/8” to both front and back crotch curves and added 1/8” to the hips on the outer side seams. I also raised the height of the centre back by 2” curving back down to the original height at the side seams. 
The extra height at the centre back means there’s no ‘builders bum’ when I sit down! The larger darts also mean the dreaded gapping waistband is gone. Fitting (and wearing) trousers is very new to me and I had to research a lot to figure out which adjustments to make. I’m still far from the perfect fit, but I’m pleased with these for a first attempt. A very handy guide I found was the Closet Case Pants Fitting Guide. It tells you exactly which adjustments you need to make based on how your trousers look when wearing. Very useful!
As the pattern doesn’t include pockets, I drafted my own front slant pockets. If you want to add your own, you need to create a pocket pouch big enough to fit your hand, phone etc.
Now you need to create what will be your pocket opening. Cut or fold the original front pattern piece into a slant at your desired angle and length including seam allowance.  This part was trial and error. You can cut your pocket opening to whatever feels comfortable for you. Just ensure you can fit your hand in!
The last pattern piece will be the pocket lining. Trace the top section of your main trouser pattern piece. Your lining should be the same depth as your pocket pouch on the side seam, curving up towards the centre front. You can use contrasting fabric for this part as it will not be seen during normal wear. You can also use a woven, non stretch fabric, like quilting cotton, to turn it into a secret tummy tuck panel. (I folded the dart closed before tracing my pocket lining. You can keep the dart in the pocket if you wish). If you plan on finishing the curved raw edges, do so now. 
To sew your pockets, lay your pocket lining and trouser piece right sides together on the slanted seam. Sew together then under stitch the seam allowance to the pocket lining. 
If desired, turn the lining to the inside and topstitch the pocket opening. 
Place your pocket pouch and pocket lining right sides together. Sew around the curved seam only, making sure you sew through the pocket pieces only. 
Turn your pocket to the inside and baste the top and side seams together. 
The rest of the construction was as per the instructions, with the addition of topstitching on the inside leg seam and around the pockets. I used a Gutermann top stitching thread in a golden colour, the same as many ready to wear pairs of jeans. I used a stitch length of 3.5mm and a top stitching needle. It can be a pain switching thread and needle throughout the construction, but the top stitching really does add a more professional looking finish.
I extended the size of the cuffs by around 1/2” as they were smaller than the trousers and uncomfortable. 
I’m pleased with how the whole outfit turned out and both fabrics were lovely to work with. Be aware the dark colour of the denim does bleed a bit though. I made the jeans in one sitting and ended up with slightly blue tinged hands by the time I’d finished. 
Thanks for reading,

Floral Jersey Renfrew Tops

Recent the lovely people are Minerva Crafts sent me some really beautiful floral Jersey Fabric to see what I’d come up with. It comes in two different colour ways, one on a grey background and one with a black background. In the vain hope that the last few days of summer could last all winter I chose the floral on the grey background, actually managing to not choose my usual colour black for once! I have a feeling though as the evenings become longer and winter falls upon us I will be found online ordering the black colourway from Minerva Crafts to complete my collection!

So as I said this is a jersey fabric and it consists of polyester, viscose and elastane. It has a 2 way stretch. On close inspection there is a very, very slight sheen off the grey in the background but nothing too obvious. I really am not a sparkles kind of girl so the slight sheen doesn’t bother me. The print of the flowers is beautiful though, the colours are bright and vibrant and really stand out on the grey background.

So...what pattern to choose! Well anyone that knows me and my sewing habits may know that I have a particular weak spot for one pattern. If jersey fabric comes within a 100 metres of me, my sewing machine and scissors I come running at high speed with this particular pattern in my hand. It’s my, at this stage much battered and bruised, Renfrew Top Pattern from Sewaholic Patterns.

It’s my favourite pattern of all time. In my opinion you can’t go wrong with it. A great basic top pattern that I think suits most body shapes. It’s so versatile with three different sleeve lengths, short, mid length and long and also three different neck finishes, scooped neck, v neck and a cowl neck finish.

Again I must admit to being a creature of habit and I firstly made my tried and tested combination of this pattern; the long sleeves with scooped neckline version. I could almost cut the Renfrew Top out without a pattern at this stage but thought better of it...this time!

Cutting it out and sewing it up took maybe 3-4 hours in total at my leisurely pace. I know I’m so used to the pattern at this stage I just sew without the instructions but even if you are new to this pattern it really is a quick and easy make especially if you choose the scoop neck rather than the v neck which can prove a bit of a pain to the new sewer.

The fabric handles beautifully, easy to cut out and easy to sew. It’s a medium weight I would say so it doesn’t slip and slide around much so a nice fabric to use if you are new to jersey I would say.

When I was finished I had enough fabric left over to make another version of the top; the short sleeved v neck version which I hadn’t made before. Again it took a morning at an easy pace. I would say to take it very easy at the neck line if this is your first v neck but everything else can be whipped up in no time.

Both of these tops have been worn and washed numerous times since I made them. I always try to do this before I review because I have had a few bad experiences of the ‘perfect’ fabric that turns into anything but perfect after two or three washes...this fabric thankfully is not one of them. It washes perfect, hasn’t started to ‘ball’ at all so that’s a huge thumbs up from me on that front.

Also a note on ironing if you must. There is a polyester content so I would go with the lowest setting possible to avoid any accidents!

So thumbs up all around, obviously on the pattern but on the fabric too. You know I mean it when the other colourway is on my wish list! 

Have a great day Minerva Crafters x

Marie @maeme_and_momo


Bright Yellow Janet Jacket

Hello, everyone I am back again on the Minerva Crafts blog but first, let me tell you a little bit about how I got into making my own clothes in the first place. Of course the thought of sewing my own garments was in my head for a while (you can read more on this in my blog if you want) but what gave me the final nudge was the fact that in late 2016 I desperately tried to find a bright yellow blazer - you know the sort of lemony/sunny yellow. The only place where I could find something that remotely resembled what I was looking for, was a slightly dubious site on the internet. My boyfriend casually told me to just make one myself. Excuse me? We had just moved in together and he noticed my (old) sewing machine standing around on a shelf on the second floor of our new apartment. I then told him that making a jacket was one of the most difficult things to make and I had never been able to make a garment for myself that was not a (historical) costume and that there was no way EVER I would be able to make my dream jacket. Then winter came and went and it was time to think about summer colours and lighter jackets again and I decided I would try to learn sewing my own clothes. Let’s be honest, you just do not start your sewing journey by picking a jacket as your first project. (Allthough at that time, I was overly confident in my sewing skills, haha). Gradually over one year I tackled one difficult garment category after another (a coat, jeans, bras, a shirtdress, blouses etc.) until finally my inbox pinged and I got the opportunity to review this Suiting Fabric from Minerva Crafts. You can imagine how my heart started to race “Oh, please let there be a yellow one, please, please, please”. And there it was. The perfect shade of yellow.
It’s not easy to find a modern and yet smart looking jacket pattern. Please, do correct me if I’m wrong and send me all your suggestions, I’d love to hear them. After a while, I landed on the StyleArc site and chose three patterns to buy and choose from later. In the end I chose the Janet Jacket (BTW: so weird, every time I write or say Janet I hear the song from the Rocky Horror Show).
I prewashed the fabric as per the suggestions on the site and it came out of the washing machine practically wrinkle free. After this I ironed it for good measure and started to cut out the individual pieces. 
As a lining I chose this abstract print polyester Lining Fabric from Minerva Crafts because I wanted a sassy and fun look on the inside of my jacket (I envisioned everyone saying oooooooh when I’d take my jacket of ;-))
After cutting out, I sewed together the shell fabric by first sewing the back and front pieces together and then attaching them to each other at the shoulder seams. Now don’t go and judge me on this because the instructions of this jacket were really, uuuuhm, challenging to say the least. They really expect you to know what you are doing by giving you merely 15 short sentences and no illustrations to make the Janet. As I sewed a coat with fantastic instructions last autumn, I could refer to them for the most part. On a bright note, the fabric was actually a dream to work with and it ironed especially well as you can see on this picture.
Next, I inserted the sleeves by sewing a couple of gathering stitches along the sleeve head beforehand. Then it was time to finish all the edges.
Ah, before I forget, I took in the sleeves about 0.5cm on each side of the shoulder/sleeve seam, because the shell looked super wide on me. The lining is made by following the same steps except for leaving a tiny bit of one sleeve seam unfinished (this pattern gives you separate pieces for lining and shell fabric which I appreciated a lot). 
This would also be the point where you hand stitch shoulder pads into your jacket if you want them. I did use some with mine.
And then all the guesswork started. I could not – for the life of me – figure out how to attach the lining to the facing at the neckline. The lining edges were rounded at the neck and the neckfacing piece was edgy (???).
After trying a few different approaches with basting stitches I decided to just wing it and sew it together with a slight curve. You would never notice it unless you were the pattern designer.
Attaching the lining at the hemline was a similar story. Only when I checked the actual pattern pieces for the stitch lines I could slightly guess where the stitching had to be.
Since then I inspected a lot of jackets and blazers and a lot of them work with hemfacings instead of folding the main fabric to the inside which I would have much preferred.
After that, it was time to “stitch the sleeve lining hems to the main sleeves and fully turn out your jacket”. Not joking here, this is all the instructions said. Thankfully I knew from a previous project how to do it or I would have been lost. You attach the lining to the jacket all the way around apart from the sleeves. Then you attach the sleeves hems to one another. The easiest way to do this is to lay the jacket in front of you with the shell and shell sleeves facing to the left and the lining and its sleeves to the right. They would, of course, meet in the middle because the lining is attached to the shell all the way around. You bring over the sleeves of the lining and fold the right side over the wrong side at the sleeve hem (lining) so that the right side of the sleeve fabric (still lining) is visible. Then you insert this into the corresponding sleeve of the shell. Since you previously made sure the right side of the lining is folded outwards, the two right sides of both sleeve fabrics meet, and then you stitch the sleeve hem all the way around. Do the same with the other side. I know it sounds very confusing and it seems like there is no way that this will ever turn out right, but it will. You can now turnout the whole jacket through the seam left open on one of the sleeve lining seams and voilà suddenly everything falls into place. Give your jacket a good press, hand stitch the last bit of the open seam closed and you are done.
Even the collar turned out quite decent.
Sadly I did not really check if my spotty lining was visible on the outside through the main fabric. You can really see the difference between the faced and unfaced pieces of the shell. 
I would recommend, therefore, you either cut two layers of this fabric and treat them as one or you make the smart choice and pick a lining that corresponds with the shell fabric. As of now, I have not taken it apart yet. But I will fix it, I can promise you this, because as I’ve said the tone of yellow is just perfect and the fabric is so lightweight and perfect for spring, summer and autumn.
Happy Sewing, 
Nadine @ lifewithnaba

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