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,
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 23rd October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
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!
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,
Posted in Projects on Monday the 22nd October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
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.
Until next time, happy sewing!!
Posted in Projects on Monday the 22nd October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Sunday the 21st October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
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!
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