Hello everyone! Annie here from Scavenger Annie popping by with a fun stitching project for the little ones in your life.
Having the opportunity to make something with this lovely swan Jersey Fabric was an absolute pleasure.
This gorgeous design features some sleepy swans elegantly dressed up in dainty golden crowns. It’s a four way stretch jersey that is soft to touch and being a medium weight it’s easy to sew. I decided that I would make a peplum style top in size 12-18 months for my little lady. It might be awhile before she’s wearing it but I’m having fun sewing up a handmade wardrobe for her!
I started off by using a free top pattern found via Pinterest for the body and it featured a nifty little neckband and full length sleeves.
I used my overlocker for the most part with my sewing machine waiting in the wings for some neat top stitching with twin needles.
I was going to add a peplum using the old circle skirt method of cutting the fabric out but for a top this small I didn’t like how the swans ended up in the wrong direction so I went on a bit of an experimental adventure.
After trying the method included with the pattern I decided it just wasn’t right for this directional print so I decided to cut out segments on my cutting machine, to save both time and my wrist joints from repetitive cutting.
However I didn’t like how this turned out either (lets just say I felt sorry for the headless swans) so in the end I measured the waist of the bodice and added a bit extra to cut out a rectangle.
I then used gathering stitches to fit it to size and the slight gathers looked cute as anything on this mini top! Huzzah! The swans were all the right way round at last. The simplest way is often the best hehe!
Sewing for children in the higher up age range is definitely easier than the tiny stitching required with newborn and 0-3 month sizes, especially when it comes to sewing things like sleeves and cuffs. Sewing life is made simpler with this pattern by stitching the sleeves to the top at the shoulders and then, right sides together, sewing from sleeve hem to bodice hem continuously.
This fabric was stretchy enough to not need any extra stability but if your fabric doesn’t have great stretch recovery, sewing clear elastic into the seam when attaching the peplum will help the top keep it’s shape and prevent sagging.
I’m really pleased with how this top turned out!
With some fabric left over I decided to stitch up a little matching headband.
A quick and easy project, I began by cutting a rectangle of fabric 16 inches by 6.5 inches.
Now I sewed this up so quickly that I forgot to take photos so here’s the next steps with another fabric. First fold your rectangle in half length ways, rights sides together and sew down the edge.
Turn the tube of fabric right side out then fold it back on itself so the raw edges match and the stitching lines up. Sew around the raw edges leaving an inch gap for turning the headband the right way out once done.
All that’s left is to sew up the gap with a straight stitch.
There you have it! A nice little headband to match your top.
Thanks for reading and happy stitching!
Posted in Projects on Sunday the 8th December 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi there! Zoe here and this next post is about a boiler suit I’ve made with this lovely denim sent to me by Minerva. It’s a Robert Kaufman Denim Fabric in medium weight in a super light bleached indigo colour.
When I originally saw it I wanted to make some jeans. I’ve been building up to jeans for a while but haven’t quite taken the plunge yet. But when it arrived I couldn’t get the idea of a boiler suit out of my head. You see, I’ve been planning to make one for a while but the 2 fabrics I had previously ordered for it just weren’t right and ultimately became something else. But this denim was perfect for it. The medium weight means it’s not super rigid but it isn’t stretch either so I know it will hold the size while I wear it.
The only problem was, I didn’t quite have enough! So I played pattern Tetris several evenings in a row. Ultimately I realised I didn’t have enough for both a collar and pockets so I opted to omit the collar. Always pockets.
When I started sewing at first I thought there was something wrong with my machine because it kept missing stitches, then I realised I hadn’t switched to a denim needle. When I did, it was delightful to sew! So don’t make my mistake, use a denim needle from the start.
I am so pleased with the finished product. It wasn't a beginner project but there was nothing super complex about it either. The pattern I used was the McCall's 7330. It has a few options and mine is a mix between versions E and F. The result is a boiler suit that is light enough to wear on a cool summers day but warm enough to layer up and wear in winter too. Plus the colour is as close to neutral as possible so it’s going to be really easy to mix and match it. I made it in the summer but I’ve added a picture of how I plan to layer it up in the colder months.
I want to say a couple of things about the construction. Firstly, I actually made a toile (this is the first time in my life I have ever done this), and decided to take an inch off the length and I did a sway back adjustment. I could probably have taken more out of the back but I didn’t want to affect the rise too much. It’s comfortable as it is but still slightly looser than I would like across the back.
Secondly I am really pleased I opted to have the pockets rather than the collar. The front pockets are exactly what I would choose in a boiler suit and the top stitching breaks up the blue just enough. But the butt pockets are stupid. They sit too high on the leg (see below) and they’re so small I can barely fit my fingers in. I’m tempted to remove them altogether but I don’t want to leave a weird butt pocket mark so I haven’t committed yet. If I were to sew this pattern again I would use the front breast pocket pattern, which is bigger, and place them lower down on my tushy.
My final comments on the construction are about the gathered waist. I wouldn’t usually choose gathers but I think it works here. It was a little tricky to gather the front evenly into the waistband because the pockets made too many layers. Overall I’m pleased though, I think the result is pretty even and suits the loose shape of the boilersuit.
So I still haven’t made myself some jeans, they’re on my bucket list I guess. This fabric would absolutely work as jeans- especially a wide leg or loose fit pair. I also quite fancied making a pinafore style dress out of it, maybe next time. I think a dress would look especially nice in the darker colour of this fabric that is also available.
That’s all from me today, you can find more of my makes on instagram at @zoesewstoo
My first pair of “me-made” jeans were in December 2018. I was armed with some secondhand raw denim and a pinterest page of vintage Levi's and Wranglers circa 1959, and I'd requested the Dawn Jeans Pattern by Megan Nielsen for Christmas. I even printed the pattern (all 4 views) at the copy shop. It was so exciting.
I spent a few nightly sessions in my sewing room fitting and re-fitting, and made a pair that suited my humble experience perfectly. I immediately made another “nice” pair from the altered pattern. If I want another version of something- the best decision has always been to sew the second garment immediately after the first, while everything is set up and the instructions are still in your mind. Now, rigid denim relaxes over time and with wear. These well-loved couple did not. They slowly got tighter over the winter and into the spring, until I couldn't zip them anymore. Gaining some weight didn't bother me, but losing my dream jeans did.
In the meantime, I made a few other jeans patterns, 2 looser fits and a stretch pair, and occasionally contemplated trying to fit back in my original Dawns.
Then one day in August, it happened again. I found some rigid 12 oz denim at my favourite thrift store. It was time to re-print the pattern and do it all again.
I needed to sew for myself today, and not 6 months ago or next year.
Then I saw this Robert Kaufman Selvedge Denim Fabric.
I'd never seen anything like it.
I knew these were going to be good jeans, whatever the size.
Here are the details:
The weight is almost identical to my other 12oz denim, I'm confident its between 10 and 13oz.
It is indigo, I pre-washed it 2x in warm water to avoid blue hands in the construction process. (It worked well, and the hem of my white tee is clear despite rubbing the jeans waistband all day.)
It is a tight weave. My sewing machine sensor hates that, so I used 110 gauge denim needles this time and they worked amazingly well. My machine didn't beep at me once!
It has 2 selvedges on either edge of the 31” width. If you want to take full advantage of that, you may want to choose a pattern with straight outside seams. Mine curve, so I used the selvedge in a few other places, like the 3 patch pockets. To finish them neatly without folding down the top edge, I folded the corner inward.
Jeans-making has become a real joy for me, but that's not to say I don't make it a bit more efficient for myself.
I choose to topstitch with regular thread. I put the topstitch colour in the upper and a colour that suits the inside of my jeans in the bobbin, and between construction seams and topstitching I just alter the stitch length. Occasionally I choose to topstitch with a twin needle, I just add a second spool of thread to my upper machine, going between twin and single needle as needed. Also worth noting, I have never had my twin needle stitching pop on rigid denim.
(The beautiful place in these photos belongs to my parents', but my husband and I dream of having something similar someday! )
Re-making this pattern was wonderful. I was so inspired by the calibre of the fabric that I did some of my best sewing. I feel like I treated myself with these jeans, putting in the work to muslin and fit and add sweet details. They are cherished.
Thanks for being here, lovely sewists!
Hello! I’m excited to be back on the Minerva blog today! I’m sharing my Seamwork Jill Coat or Coatigan as they are calling it, since it’s a little bit coat, a little bit cardigan, in design. This is actually the first time I’ve used 100% Cotton Fleece Fabric. I often pass on fleeces in general, because I’m so used to seeing those cheap, polyester options. This fabric is so far from that! I was thrilled when I opened it and saw how fluffy, plush and thick it was. The ochre color is the greatest shade of mustard yellow, one I’m always searching for. I’m a big fan of yellow here
The weight and stretch of this fleece was easy to work with and made for an enjoyable sew. Sometimes knits are shifty while cutting and this wasn’t the case here. (Nothing worse than fabric that fights you all along the way.) I knew I wanted to be able to feel the plush, wrong side of the fabric, so I purposefully chose an unlined garment pattern. The Jill was a wonderful pairing for having the soft fleece right next to my skin. The fabric is as cozy as snuggling up with a warm blanket. I need that kind of luxury in my daily life!
I did make a few changes to the pattern. Its intended to be oversized, but I chose to size down from the measurement charts for a slightly more fitted coat. I went down one size, but actually could have gone down two and been happy still. If you were making this in a more structured fabric, one size down would probably work well. I’m a firm believer of always checking those finished measurements as well as the sizing ones. I decided to add a button at the center and sleeve cuffs. As drafted, the pattern has no closures. Once I completed the coat without them, I felt it just needed a little something more. This made the garment look more polished and finished in this casual, fleece fabric.
The cuffs were a simple addition of turned rectangles sewn into the side seams and then adding the buttons to tack them down. They are nonfunctional, solely just for looks. Sewing buttonholes on this fabric was a no go with my machine. Not sure what the issue was, but I’m glad I practiced on scraps first. I think the fabric was too soft and thick for my machine and it kept getting confused and stopping half way though. I finally decided to hand bind the buttonholes instead and I’m very happy with that decision. If you’ve never done them by hand before, it’s very easy and kind of relaxing and mediative. A good option to use if your machine is ever struggling.
This is a fantastic Spring/Fall layering piece in the medium weight, fleece fabric. Once the temperatures drop a little more, I’m a big fan of having a car coat for those colder months- comfortable for driving around in without being too warm or cold. Easy to wear in a store, school or for running quick errands. This piece fits that need spot on. Someone who lives in a warmer climate might be able to use this for their main jacket also, but it gets a bit too cold here in Ohio after December to use as for a daily outside coat for me.
A few things to note about the pattern. The copy shop version seemed to waste a lot of paper. I dislike having to have multiple sheets when things could be fit on less. It’s kind of extra picky, but it’s a pet peeve of mine. If you’ve never sewn a jacket before, make sure to read the directions carefully. While this is an easy, basic pattern, there are a few portions of the directions that could be better and might leave beginners scratching their heads. Particularly the section when attaching the collar to the coat. Read the words very thoroughly rather than just looking at the picture here because they are a bit deceiving.
Overall I’m really happy with my new Coat and look forward to enjoying it more and more while the seasons shift.
Thanks for being here!
Hello Sewists – my name is Sarah and I share my makes on Instagram @my_favouritedress. This month I made two projects and this one is the first time I used a new to me pattern.
When I saw this Stretch Denim Fabric on offer for the Minerva Makers, I quickly jumped at the opportunity to try it. I love a denim skirt and my wardrobe had been lacking in a straight simple skirt which I could wear with a variety of tops. I had also bought the Tilly & The Buttons “Ness” Skirt a while ago but had not yet tried it out. It seemed to me that this was a pairing that was meant to be!
I thought about the mini version but decided that a knee length skirt with the front split was the best use of the 2m of fabric. When the fabric arrived, I washed and dried it in case of shrinkage and then got my supplies ready. The fabric in this stone colourway is a great neutral, it comes in other colours too and is a medium weight rather than a heavy denim. It does have some stretch to it which I thought was perfect for the Ness skirt and also for fitting. There is a slight raised pattern to the fabric which made it difficult to decide which was the right side – I just decided which side I liked better and went with that (however, this caused a problem, more on that later!).
The Ness skirt is a simple pattern and I had no problems with it at all. The instructions are great if you are thinking about making one and the top stitching is a pleasure to do and gives a great effect. The fabric took really well to the machine and the top stitching. I decided to do mine in a coordinating thread although I have seen it done with a contrasting thread to a wonderful effect.
When it came to the waistband, the fabric played a trick on me and I ended up sewing the wrong side out. It shows as a slightly lighter and less raised fabric but I decided to go with it as I didn’t realise until I had already sewed on the waistband fully. This made me think it wouldn’t really be much of an issue and in fact, once I had sewn on the belt loops, I quite liked it! I used a metal popper instead of a jeans button because I didn’t have one and I like the poppers. The pocket bags are sewn in a pretty cotton floral print which was left over from another project and coordinates nicely with the stone coloured fabric.
I love the finished skirt, it’s a really fab addition to my wardrobe and I have worn it several times already with a blouse tucked in and a t-shirt worn outside. I feel that it can be dressed up or down and the fabric is really forgiving with that little bit of stretch in it. I would definitely recommend this fabric pairing, and in fact I am tempted to buy some more in another colourway to make a similar skirt. I hope you enjoyed this fabric review – Happy Sewing!
Posted in Projects on Saturday the 7th December 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Today I am reviewing this beautiful tan Cotton Lawn Fabric with green, blue and burgundy flowers. I have been on the lookout for a suitable summery fabric to make the Cocowawa Crafts Honeycomb dress for a while. I received this pattern in the first issue of the 'In a Haystack' pack and have been happily dreaming up versions to make ever since.
The pattern offers lots of variations: dress, shirt, sleeveless, short sleeve, long gathered sleeve and even a long sleeve with a tie at the wrist option. It also features a mandarin collar which I was eager to try out. If you are interested in this pattern check out the hashtags on Instagram, there are so many different takes on this pattern in terms of how it has been fitted, how it is styled and the huge variety of fabrics it works with. It is incredibly inspiring!
I love the shape of the garment and I figured the waist ties would make fitting a breeze. I opted for the peplum shirt version with short sleeves as I am realising more and more that unless it is winter and I can wear tights with it I just don’t wear dresses on a day to day basis. Thanks pasty, tan resistant skin!
Now for the fabric! It is from the Regency collection and is a super soft and lightweight cotton at almost 60 inches wide. Thanks to the floaty texture it worked really well for the gathered peplum of the shirt but due to it being 100% cotton it wasn’t slinky or slippery when cutting out. Bonus!
In terms of actual construction this was also pretty simple. The button band is constructed before the front and back pieces are sewn together which was interesting. It was nice to get that fiddly bit out of the way early and it helped to not have to wrestle with the whole garment when doing it. The pattern also uses the popular burrito method of assembling the shirt yoke.
The only bit I struggled with was the mandarin collar. The pattern piece was miles too long for the neckline so I had to ease a lot of fabric in. I’m pretty sure I must have cut the piece incorrectly because the rest of the pattern was drafted perfectly. I ended up with a pretty clumsy result that I’m just not happy with. When I get time, I intend to take it off entirely and use scraps to make bias binding for the neckline instead.
One last thing to say about this make is a warning for anyone else considering making the pattern. Trust the finished garment measurements! The pattern is designed to have a ton of ease, the idea being for a loose, cool summery garment. For me however, I just wasn’t loving it. The ease around the bust and underarms for me was enormous. I could have easily taken in the side seams before adding the sleeves, but I never seem to think of these things at the time!
Happy stitching everyone!
Posted in Projects on Saturday the 7th December 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Designing bridal gowns and embellishments, I am from the School of More Is More. So the relatively simple design for this dress is a bold departure for me and should be easy to replicate.
My inspiration for the design was the fabric itself, which is so intricately detailed that all my go-to complex patterns, embroidery and beaded embellishments would be overkill. I used three fabrics. First and most striking is this Scalloped-Edged Lace Fabric featuring floral embroidered tulle and appliqué flowers. I experimented with designs by draping the fabric on a mannequin for how best to work the narrow scallop edge at the top, the wide scallop edge at the bottom and placement of the embroidered details. The open back and repeated waist and hem details evolved from these experiments (some more successful than others, as you can see below!).
Lashings of lace
But why stick to one lace when there are so many? To add depth and texture, I layered this second Tulle Fabric with spots and flowers and a hint of sparkle under the top fabric. I toyed with the idea of leaving it at these two, letting the bride pick her own hotpants, but decided instead to line it with Minerva’s slinky Satin-Back Crepe, with the satin side against the skin for comfort (it’s sooo silky). With the more demure skirt section, I felt the top could afford to be more risqué to keep it bang on the bridal trends for open backs, plunging necklines, and barely-there, boudoir-inspired sheer gowns. To preserve modesty, I used nude padded cups and appliquéd lace motifs cut from leftovers to disguise the cups.
Design and draft
I drafted the simple pattern from my own block with each of the tulle fabrics having only six pattern pieces and the satin skirt lining just three. Pattern placement for the bodice had to be spot on to keep the scallops even under the boobs and avoid any raised appliques right on the apex. This meant a compromise to the back design, which I’d originally envisaged as a diamond shape but the guipure edges of the back pieces had to meet the guipure section on the front waist which was lower than that would allow. I just had to go with the flow dictated by the fabric.
I wanted the skirt section design to be as simple as possible to show off the detail in the fabric so once I’d drafted the curve of the hips to the waist, it was just a straight vertical line down to the hem to create the kimono-shaped pencil skirt. If you’ve ever tried to walk in an actual kimono (two words: dolly steps), you’ll understand why I added the kick-pleat, below the concealed back zip. This was also a good opportunity to add length to create a puddle train.
Curving a straight border
But, how do you make the back longer (which would mean cutting on the bias at the top or bottom) on the lace fabric with a straight edge and a definite straight-grain pattern without wonking (technical term) the pattern placement? The answer was to cheat a little, by removing part of the lace border (1, below) and reattaching it to the curve on the bias (2 and 3), then cutting away the excess underneath (4).
Et voila! An ethereal, delicate, simple but also intricate wedding gown, perfect for a boho bride or forest pixie (babbling Yorkshire brook optional). I cannot wait to experiment with more of Minerva’s luscious bridal fabrics ahead of next season’s bridal shows (my first - wish me luck!).
Thanks for reading,
Hello Virtual sewing friends, I’m Jill and I love to sew.
I just love a novelty print fabric so as soon as I caught sight of this amazing Canvas Fabric on the Minerva website, I immediately knew its pattern destiny.
It’s a wonderful sloths canvas fabric, described on the Minerva website as a cotton and polyester blend, strong and durable. Just what I needed for a Helen’s Closet Costa Tote.
The pattern is free to anyone signing up to the Helen’s Closet newsletter. It’s a fantastic project for a complete beginner and an easy introduction to pdf patterns. I signed up and printed the pattern. I actually enjoy the process of printing, cutting and sticking a pdf but I know many people don’t.
There are 3 pattern pieces to print and to stick together, so even for the pdf phobics, this particular project shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.
The fabric was washed and line dried. I found that there was very minimal shrinkage, most definitely well within the 10% allowance suggested by Minerva.
I chose to line my tote with a co-ordinating polka dot poplin. Minerva has a wide range of these to choose from, in an array of colours. This one seemed to match perfectly with my chosen canvas.
The instructions are super clear and easy to follow. Everything is assembled in a logical order. The main bag and the lining are constructed separately. Then they are sewn together across the top, sandwiching the straps in between the two. It’s a beautifully thought out construction.
I chose to have a contrasting colour for the topstitching on my bag in green but didn’t want green on the lining, so simply changed the colour in my bobbin to co-ordinate with the lining. So green thread on my main reel and cream on the bobbin. It worked a treat!
The Costa Tote is reversible so if you choose to have pockets on yours, they can either be inside or they can be outside the bag. Basically, you can have two bags in one with this pattern. How clever is that!
I love the asymmetrical pocket design. It gives something extra than a run of the mill tote bag. There are so many uses for such a lovely, versatile bag. For me, I’ll be using mine for work. It’s the perfect size for my drink bottle, lunch, a magazine, some knitting and there will still be extra space for more.
Just look at those cute little sloth faces!
I’m very happy with my finished bag.
In conclusion, what an excellent way of using a novelty print canvas. Minerva have a huge selection of this type of fabric and I believe it to be a perfect pairing for this simple and useful project. Wouldn’t it make a brilliant present for a loved one for birthdays or for Christmas?
I hope I’ve inspired you to make one of these lovely bags. Here it is, my new bag, ready to go.
All of my makes are pictured on my Instagram feed @jillypopssews if you’d like to look.
Thank you for reading. Happy Sewing!