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Vogue V1392 - My Dream Dress by Kathy

The moment I saw this Sewing Pattern I knew that I was desperate to sew it. It is totally my style. I love a dress with a fitted bodice and pleated skirt, and I'm totally in love with the adorable neckline and off-the-shoulder straps.
The pattern is V1392 and is a Kay Unger design for Vogue. Although I have been sewing for many years, incredibly this is the first time I have sewn a Vogue pattern so was really interested to see what it was like.
The sewing pattern and supplies are from Minerva Crafts, and browsing through their website for the perfect fabric is always an absolute pleasure. I knew that I wanted a fabric that would have enough body and weight to show off the pleats in the skirt, and also support the beautiful fitted bodice and shoulders straps.
I opted for a Stretch Brocade Fabric with a floral design ( I love a floral print), in beautiful shades of green, copper brown, pink and cream set against a black background. The brocade has a medium weight and a small amount of stretch in the width and the bias. 
When I had a closer look at what the fabric requirements and notions were for this dress I was astounded with just how many items were needed. Alongside your main dress fabric you require fusible interfacing for the bodice, lining for the whole dress, and organza for the petticoat. In addition to this your notions are thread,  a zip, some elastic, boning, ribbon, seam binding and a hook and eye. I absolutely realise now that the combination of all these items make for a stunning dress which is so beautifully constructed and worth all the attention to detail that this pattern provides you with.
This is the full list of materials I used;
Textured Floral Stretch Brocade Dress Fabric LX-LX1759 2 metres @ £6.99 per metre
Black Sheer Organza Dress Fabric SHEERORG-25 1.5 metres @ £2.99 per metre
Black Premium Anti Static Taffeta Dress Lining Fabric 426-2300 2 metres @ £2.99 per metre
Vilene H250 Light-Medium Firm Iron On Fusible Interfacing 2V305 1 metre @ £4.99 per metre
Black 10mm Flat Value Braided Elastic GBE10\BLK 1 metre @ 19p per metre
Black Concealed Invisible Closed End Zip 55cm 3CC56-580 1 @ £1.59
Black 7mm Berisford Rigiband Boning R423117\10 1 metre @ 89p per metre
Black 3mm Berisford Double Faced Satin Ribbon R35013\10 1 metre @ 39p per metre
Black 13mm Essential Trimmings Seam Binding Tape R78113\BLK 1 metre @ 49p per metre
Vogue Ladies Easy Sewing Pattern 1392 Off Shoulder Dress @ £15.00
Before cutting into my beautiful fabric I made a quick toile. I am very careful to almost always do this with a pattern I have never made before and it was especially important in this case as I had never sewn a Vogue pattern before. It was important for fit of the bodice had to be perfect. The toile came together beautifully and the only alteration I had to make was in the length of the skirt. I needed to shorten it by approx 4cm.
After altering the skirt pattern pieces to make them shorter, I set about cutting out my fabrics. I have to admit this did take me quite some time - there are thirteen pattern pieces which make up this dress.  It wasn't until this point that I realised I had some serious pattern matching to consider, and this took some careful pattern placement. Also it is worth noting that the bodice/shoulder piece is cut on the bias and has a vertical seam running right down the centre front, so pattern matching this would be incredibly challenging. I settled for matching one of the copper brown coloured flowers at the centre front as this is where your eye might be drawn to, and was pretty pleased with how this turned out. The other areas to match were the centre back seam on the bodice and skirt. 
I found the instructions to be clear and helpful. There are also black and white drawings which are great. It's not a dress that you can make in a flash, but just lately I have made so many easy quick patterns that this time it was really enjoyable to take my time with something a little more detailed. I'm not saying that it was difficult at all, just more time consuming. In a good way.
One of the construction features of this dress is that it has boning sewn into the bodice. On this occasion I decided to skip this part as I felt that the bodice that I had interfaced already had enough structure and didn't need any more. If you have chosen a weight of fabric that you think will still need the boning, the instructions are beautifully written and clearly illustrated to take you through this process.
Another cute feature of this dress are elasticated straps which are attached underneath the shoulder straps and stop them from slipping down. So clever and they really did make the shoulder straps stay in place.
A dress with pockets is a winner in my eyes. This amazing dress has pockets with pocket facings. How fancy. The pocket pieces are made from lining fabric, and the back pocket pieces have a facing piece sewn to them using the main fabric so that this just blends in with the skirt. Just another example of the attention to detail that this Vogue pattern gives you.
The petticoat was fiddly. This is the first time I have sewn with organza,  it's slippery and it frays a lot! Neat little French seams give this a professional finish and whilst I don't think that it really gave my dress any more 'body' I must admit it feels all the more special knowing it has this luxurious petticoat. Hemming it was also challenging. I tried to use the 'rolled hem' foot on my machine, but this was tricky and in the end I opted for a teeny tiny double hem. 
In addition to the petticoat, the skirt is lined. Again following the instructions gave a beautiful result and the point when you attach it to the bodice lining and it becomes a fully lined dress is hugely satisfying. It feels so special!
Before the dress is finished there are some special finishing touches. The skirt hem is neatly finished with seam binding. At this stage I realised that I had not ordered enough so used some black bias tape. I loved how pretty this looked and whilst hemming is probably one of my least favourite part of sewing, this method was much more enjoyable.
Sweet little ribbon dress hanging loops are also part of this dress. Whilst on many of my 'ready to wear' clothes they are one of the first things I cut off, they are a valuable part of an off-the-shoulder dress and will help my dress from slipping to my wardroble floor I'm sure.
My hand sewing skills were tested when I made little French Tacks which keep the elastic strap anchored to the inside shoulder of the dress. These were fun to sew and definitely did their job in keeping the shoulders of the dress just where I wanted them.
I am so in love with this dress, and whilst it is a style that is quite formal and probably best suited for special occasions, I think you could achieve many different looks depending on your fabric choice and colour. I couldn't be happier with the outcome of this dress and will certainly make it again as I think the style is classic and elegant. The design and construction of the dress is outstanding, and I am eager to use Vogue patterns because of every little perfect detail that this dress included.
Vogue give this dress an 'easy' rating, and whilst I don't think it would be a good pattern for a total beginner, it could be perfect for a slightly more confident sewist who might want to push their sewing skills to the next level.
Thank you to Minerva Crafts for such beautiful fabrics and supplies, they really have created my dream dress. My challenge is now deciding where my husband can take me so that I can show it off!
Happy sewing!
Kathy @ Sew Dainty
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Floral Sweatshirt Fabric Review by Simona

Hi!

I am back on the Minerva Crafts blog with a review for another fabric I tested for them recently. On this occasion I had the pleasure of working with their floral print light weight Sweatshirt Fabric.

This is a mix of polyester, cotton and elastane fibres 64 inches wide. It’s softer than I expected, considering it is a sweatshirt fabric. It is also quite light, perfect for using it in spring, summer or autumn makes.

I was in such a hurry that I decided to take a risk and start cutting it straightaway, without washing it (I do advise, always wash your fabric the same way you will was whatever you use the fabric to avoid disappointment) It’s got stretch right? I was sent 2 meters of the fabric which was enough to make a dress and a top by mixing it with black coloured fabric.

When working with knits to avoid wavy hems or wavy shoulder seams, I always stabilise shoulder/hem areas before I start construction.

Be aware that because the fabric is sweatshirt type, it will shed a little and it will create a little mess, but not too much. It is a good idea to think about how you will finish the raw edge if you are not using an overlocker/serger.

For the construction of both the dress and the top I mainly used my overlocker/serger. The whole process goes really fast this way. After cutting the fabric a day before, I managed to finish both the tops and the dress during a Sewing Date with my friend Gemma.

On the dress, as the black fabric was a bit unruly, I used the lightning stitch on my machine to understitch the pocket bag to make sure the pocket stays hidden while I wear the dress.

As the front hem and the back hem were in different fabrics I thought it would be fun to use different colour knit interfacing. And for the hem, I used the twin needle with two different colour threads for the back part of the hem, just for the fun of it.

Since I’ve learnt that by using wooly nylon thread in the bobbin, using the twin needle on knits is my preferred method of finishing hems. This is what I did with the hems on the top as well. Using knitted interfacing was sufficient for this fabric. The only thing you need to be aware is to go slow and make the stitch longer for the hem. This will prevent broken treads and will make your hems look professional as if done on the cover-lock machine.

The fabric is quite easy to work with and if you have an overlocker you can make yourself a lovey dress or top in no time. The fabric is also stable enough that if you do not own an overlocker/serger you can easily use your sewing machine to sew up this fabric.

I love that my mixing the fabric with some left over from my stash I managed to make myself both a dress and a top.

Can you spot the back thread I used on the back hem? Even though it’s black it blends with the fabric. I also like that by using a different fabric for the sleeves you get the impression of several layers.

I’ve been wearing my top a lot since making it. I’ve been asked quite a few times where I bought it. ;)

My tips for working with this fabric:

  • interface your shoulder and hem areas, it will help prevent having wavy seams.

  • if available use your overlocker, it will make construction much faster and finish the seam, remember the fabric sheds a little when cut.

  • Used wooly nylon thread in the bobbin if doing your hems with a twin needle.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my blog post. We would really love to see your projects made with supplied from Minerva Crafts, so please do share your makes on Instagram/Twitter by tagging @MinervaCrafts or using the hashtag #MinervaMakes. I’d love to see what you create.

Simona

Sewing Adventures in the Attick

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The Minerva Blush Fabric Review, 1 Fabric 2 Ways

Who always sticks to sewing with the same fabrics over and over again? Ok so that will be me!
If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that my go to fabric is cotton lawn, but one of my “re-sewlutions” this year was to try out different fabrics as I was totally aware that I was limiting my handmade wardrobe by sticking to the same fabrics.
So when Minerva Crafts called out for people to try out a huge variety of fabrics my hand was right up in the air!
I have selected 3 different fabrics and this is my first review, the absolutely gorgeous Lady McElroy Sydney 4 way Stretch Crepe Suiting Fabric.
Another of my re-sewlutions was to work with block colour a little more this year rather than so many prints (although I do still love prints very much), you probably already know that I love pastel pink, so I immediately fell in love with the blush colour.
I have used this lovely fabric to make 2 totally different styles of dresses and I can’t wait to tell you all about them.
I have also added a video to my YouTube Channel so that you can see the fabric in detail.
Dress 1
I had thought about the pattern that I wanted to make, and I love the simple but classy design of the Seamwork magazine Catarina dress, so that was what I had imagined for this lovely blush fabric.
The fabric arrived and my oh my is it special. The texture, the drape, the stretch, its just perfect and is not see through at all. 
However, I wasn’t anticipating just how heavy weight it is (even though the description on the website said heavy weight).
The Catarina pattern calls out for a farbric with drape (tick) but it also calls out for lightweight fabric (cross), but I have planned this dress, in this fabric, in this colour so firmly in my mind, and decided to just go for it anyway, sometimes you have to break the rules, right?
I’m so pleased that I did ignore the little voice in my head telling me that it just won’t work as it turned out really well. 
The fabric was a dream to work with, even though it has spandex it sewed up just like a standard woven, I didn’t have to fiddle about with my machine settings at all. 
I used a Janome blue tip needle (to be honest I use these for everything) and they flew through the fabric with no problem at all.
The only exception to this was the waistline, so imagine 2 layers of bodice fabric (as its self lined) and a gathered skirt, this was a little too much bulk for my standard foot to handle, but nothing stops the walking foot! This breezed through all of those layers of fabric with ease.
One thing that this fabric does not like is pressing, I had no issues in relation to the fabric melting or anything like that, but it didn’t want to press easily even with loads of steam. That said, the seams and darts worked out so clean. I didn’t make a double folded hem as it would not have sat flat, instead I overlocked the bottom and hemmed a single layer of fabric.
I honestly cannot tell you how pleased that I am with how this turned out, its so comfortable to wear, it doesn’t feel that heavy when its on, and it swooshes!!!
Oh and an added bonus, it does not crease so its perfect for packing away for holiday.
I used bra strap elastic for the straps (rather than using the fabric) as I knew that I would struggle to get the fabric to press flat, but I did use the fabric for the tie belt.
Dress 2
I had ordered enough fabric to make the Catarina, but didn’t need anywhere near the amount it asked for, I think that this was because the tie belt is supposed to be cut parallel to the selvedge, but as this fabric had more stretch in this direction, I cut it parallel to the raw edge. This meant that I had enough fabric left to squeeze out a Colette Patterns Laurel Dress, yay!
I have made a couple of different versions of this dress before using woven with no stretch, and they fitted me really well. I did think about sizing down (as this fabric has some stretch), but then I thought that I would try making it in the same size, and maybe this would negate the need to add a zipper (yes I know another little risk) and this paid off too!
This fabric works really well with this dress as it looks so clean and really shows off the bust and back darts and looks such a lovely silhouette. 
I did initially add the patch pockets in the same fabric and this was a BIG mistake, they went all out of shape (I guess due to the stretch) so I had to unpick them. I was going to leave it without pockets but you could see the stitch lines from the previous pockets, so instead I made new ones using a quilting cotton and they turned out fine.
Now if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen that I had an ‘oops’ moment when sewing this dress, I only went and sewed the sleeve on inside out, but shhh don’t tell anyone!
So, in summary I really love this Fabric, it worked well on both these dresses even though its probably not the suggested fabrics for the patterns (I love it when a risk pays off) and I will definitely be working with this again.
I think that my next project out of this will be some culottes or some kind of wide leg trouser (it comes in tons of colours!), so watch this space!
Thanks for reading,
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How to Make a Simple Tote Bag with Tracy

Hello lovely makers, today I am trying out doing more than a review for Minerva crafts, I am doing a kind of make along, more like highlighting some hints and tips as we work through See and Sew B6477 Pattern, a simple tote bag. Using some lovely fabrics from Minerva crafts that actually have scents on them.  
I kid you not I used Camelot Fabrics Scented Fabric plain colours in apple and tropical as my contrast and lining, and their patterned Tropical fabric as the main, I asked my husband what they smelt like before telling him they were scented and he said apple and mango, they were lovely quality, great colours and smelt lovely to boot - what's not to like. 
I decided to do view b (the red one on the pattern pack).
As well as the fabrics needed you will need 2x 12" zips, sew on light/medium weight interfacing (although I used Iron on as that is my personal preference) Fusible fleece to give the bag some structure and bulk. Along with your normal pins, threads etc.
Before even looking at any of the pattern it is good practice to wash your fabrics, dry and then iron them. This helps to avoid shrinkage on washing our finished projects, whilst in this make along we are making a bag so may not seem needed, if this was a garment and your finished project shrunk or went out of shape after your first wash, I can't even imagine how that would feel after all our hard work.
Now the first thing to do when you open the pattern is to read it through to get an idea of what steps you will be doing, It will tell you what pieces you need for each view and how to lay them on the fabric for cutting etc. 
The first thing I like to do Is circle all the pieces I will need for my chosen view.
Next its time to put our attention to the pattern pieces. Iron your pattern sheets as those little creases can really distort the pattern pieces, we need them nice and flat. Now if this was a garment or accessory pattern with various sizes we would be discussing tracing the pattern on the sizes we need but as this is a simple one size pattern we just need to cut out the pattern pieces we need on the outer of the thick black line.
Place and pin or weight pieces on fabric as pattern describes and cut them out, transferring all marking as needed. 
Iron or sew on all interfacings as required by the pattern.
Then you are ready to start assembling your bag as per the instructions.
I use little clips rather than pins, a) they hold the pattern and fabric really well without marking the fabric,B) I won't inadvertently sew over them and cause damage to my needle and c) I won't prick myself and bleed over the fabric (ASK ME HOW I KNOW!). These are available on Minerva crafts too.
Another tip I can share is that once you place your sewing under your foot, before you start sewing just hold the threads a little taught as you put your foot on the pedal this avoids those ends getting caught and causing that underneath birds nest that sometimes happens. ASK ME HOW I KNOW!!
So go ahead and attach the 2 contrast panels to the main panel of both front and back.
Next tip: It does not say it on the pattern but, too make the bag look a little more finished I then topstitched a line of sewing  approx 1/8" from the seam line on the plain sides. Remember to repeat this if you decide to do it when you join the side pieces  later on.
Once this is done we need to start on the handles. 
The pattern calls for you to mitre the corners of the handle on the ends
Then fold, iron and sew the sides. Ready for placement. 
When I did this I collected the pattern pieces with the handle placement rectangles marked on them and placed on my bag pieces,
I took my friction pen (erases on ironing) and just marked each corner of the rectangle through the pattern onto the fabric.
Then sew, the pattern calls for a straight rectangle sewing but I tend to criss cross as well to hold the handles firmer.
From there just follow all the rest of the instructions for the bag as they are actually fairly straight forward sewing up the sides, adding a very simple patch pocket to one of the inner lining pieces. If you want a really simple bag omit the zips. 
Enjoy your finished bag.
So my thoughts, I love, love the quality and smell of  the Fabrics, I only like the pattern. Although the zipper closure on view B to me was not aesthetically pleasing and if I were to do it again I would either use a long zipper, or omit it completely and just do a magnetic snap clasp closure of even a big button and loop. But a great easy bag for a beginner. 
Thanks Minerva, I would love to use my bag for shopping trips, but my MUM has claimed it as hers!!!
Thanks for reading,
Tracy @ T Plays Nice
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Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans by Anna

Jeans are one of those things that a lot of people are scared about sewing. After having put them off for so long, I have finally made a pair, and I am so pleased with them!

I used this Indigo Stretch Denim Fabric from Minerva Crafts. Ordering fabric online is always a risk, but I could not have been happier with the colour of it when it arrived. It's a really lovely shade and has a nice weight to it. After pre-washing it, I was set to go. Denim does fray a lot, so I made sure to finish all my seams with a zigzag stitch. To make these jeans, I used the Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans Pattern. The pattern comes in two views, I decided to make view B which features a high waist and skinny legs. It's exactly the kind of style I like, and the waistband fits perfectly above my hips.

 

In the end, the fabric that I used meant that my jeans don't look exactly like the view on the pattern. This is because the pattern requires a fabric with slightly more stretch. However, I found that it worked fine with the amount of stretch that my denim had, it just meant that I couldn't have the legs super-tight. To be honest, I'm quite pleased with this as I like the look of the slightly wider legs that view A feature, but much prefer the high-waist of view B, so I suppose that my jeans are a slight combination of the two.

I didn't realise that my fabric wouldn't account for the negative ease required in the pattern until I tried them on for the first time, so I would highly recommend basting your jeans on the side seams. I ended up sewing the side seams quite a few times, but this was easy to do seeing as I used a wide stitch length. I would also recommend trying them on again and again - while it's tedious, it will mean that your jeans will fit much better at the end! To hem the jeans, I cropped them first. It's a style that I like and I'm really pleased I did it.