I usually tend to use the patterns and instructions without changing much but, as I start to feel more confident, I start making small changes. At first were the sewing techniques, as I knew which ones worked better for me or allowed me to obtain a better finishing. Only recently, I started to venture in actually changing a pattern in order to obtain a garment that I believe, will suit me better.
The same thing happens with fabrics and I usually only use the recommended type. However, this time, the fabric looked so lovely that I decided to take the risk and used a non-recommended fabric. So, instead of using a light weight, with good drape kind of fabric as recommended, I used the Lady McElroy Stretch Corduroy Fabric in colour grey, to make the Orchid Midi Dress by Chalk and Notch and do not regret it.
To be honest, I had previously made a version of this dress and for that reason, I knew the pattern and believed it could work with some minor adjustments.
I took the opportunity to try the new version of this pattern but, in my case, the difference wasn’t much. I made View B in size 0, A/B cup without changes to the bodice. To the skirt however, and similarly to what I did in my previous version, I made a few modifications.
The most obvious alteration, was reducing the skirt length by 22 centimetres, using the two shorten/lengthen lines in the pattern, although probably would have been wiser to create a third shorten/lengthen line due to the big amount I wanted to reduce.
I’ve also eliminated the pockets and front slit by cutting the front part on the fold, after eliminating the seam allowance. As much as I like the versions I’ve seen, I am not sure it would work well with this fabric weight and my body type. I don’t believe it would look very nice on me and I want a garment that makes me feel good and comfortable while wearing it. Don’t we all?
During the bodice construction and despite having a few layers of heavier fabric than suggested, everything went smoothly although I did handstitch the armhole seam to the bodice. The pattern instructions suggest to press the armhole seams to the bodice side but, due to the fabric thickness, it wasn’t working well, making the seams a bit bulky and uncomfortable while wearing. After handstitching the seams, everything was kept in place, looking much better and more comfortable to wear.
About the fabric and how it worked for this project, during the construction, I would like to add that due to the fabric nature, I did not interface the back yoke facing, as I believe the fabric is stable enough and I recommend being careful not to stretch the fabric. In fact, just like knit fabrics, using a walking foot might be helpful. Other than that, it was a pleasure to work with!
I am really happy I took the chance and made the dress with this fabric, as it is absolutely beautiful and the print goes really well with this pattern. The colours are so pretty in real life! I adore how the beiges and blues stand out against the grey. The composition is mainly cotton, however the small percentage of viscose (30%) does make a difference. It also has a bit of stretch so, it is really comfortable to wear.
Many thanks Minerva for the lovely fabric for this project and to you for reading.
Greetings! I’m Rachel, aka @scissorspapersewn on Instagram. I was delighted to be asked to join Minerva’s Makers Team, especially when this gorgeous Lady McElroy Linen Cotton Fabric arrived for my first make.
Let’s take a moment to do a virtual fabric stroke, shall we?…it has a good weight which was very helpful…reassuringly opaque, lovely bit of drape….feels soft rather than crisp…if you’re particularly skin-sensitive you might like a lining but, after a wash at 30, it felt soft enough to use without. The wheat-coloured reverse side could be used intentionally and this versatile fabric will work for trousers and pinafores, shirts, bags, cushions, even outer wear.
So…what did I decide to make?
The pattern is part of the Now & Then range from Til The Sun Goes Down, an indie outfit (ha, see what I did there?) based in the west country, whose patterns are inspired by the 1920s-1960s. The pattern offers a dress or jumpsuit option. For my first run as a Minerva Maker I was looking for a swishy, natural fabric for the jumpsuit that said English summer and British seaside, with a bit of a retro breeze…enter Lady McElroy floral cotton linen!
Choosing a Bias-Tape to make the fabric sing was one of the appeals of this make to me. The two sample pairs I’d seen made up at Thread in June used a bias-tape finish to great affect. One pair used a black satin tape giving a luxe vibe, the other plucked out one of the colours in the main fabric pattern to make it pop. As I unfolded this fabric and caught those little hints of periwinkle, I knew this sunlit sky blue would twinkle “anybody for a dip?”. The beach pyjamas are a garment for enjoying the freedoms of summer. You feel put together and at ease simultaneously, thanks to the quick tie-waist and galant amount of swish.
The pattern calls for 3.1m of 54” fabric for my size, plus 3m of bias-binding which you can make from the main fabric or a contrasting fabric, using another 0.5m. I wanted a satin finish, so bought ready-made tape. Beyond that, you need thread, interfacing and a good bit of space for cutting out.
The pattern is just two pieces basically - one for the front, one for the back. Each piece has a grown-on pocket but if your fabric isn’t wide enough, there’s a separate pocket pattern piece. Not wanting any bulk, I chose to omit the pockets but this fabric is wide enough to include them. You also need to draft a pair of waist ties.
I made a toile previously after contacting Andree at Til The Sun Goes Down to find out the pattern was drafted for a woman off 5’ 5” with a C-cup. As I’m a standard seam allowance over 5’ 7” I added length to the bodice, crotch rise and hem. From the toile, I learned that I’d added too much given the ease in the pattern. For this pair, I kept the extra bodice length but reduced the extra in the crotch rise down to 3/4” front and back. In future, I’d eliminate even that. I cut the hem length down by 3” to sit at my ankle bone. I like the retro vibe of this length for wearing with flats, flipflops or barefoot.
Now, a thing I love like Julie Andrews loves whiskers on kittens, is French seams. I like sewing them, pressing them and I particularly enjoy peering inside my garment while chuckling smugly. My Beach Pyjamas are French-seamed throughout…and it’s so worth it! So let me share something that will help.
Before sewing I found a really useful sewalong while looking for images of the pjs that suggests altering the sequence of steps so as to French seam the whole suit and enclose the ties neatly. Fantastic! This Lady McElroy fabric is worth it and, since I shall be stepping in and out of my pair at the beach, possibly while the wind blows, the stoic strength of a French seam is appealing. You can find this great sewalong here.
Having decided to French seam the inside of the jumpsuit, the sewing went swimmingly. I attached the waist ties earlier in the make than the instructions suggest so they could be neatly concealed within the bias-binding. The seams weren’t bulky and the fabric presses beautifully.
The most fiddly part is finishing the bias where it turns inside the front of the suit. Pinning it was pretty curse-inducing and my finish on the inside was a bit gung-ho but who’s going to see that when they’re transfixed by all those French seams, right? I was grateful to be using such a stable fabric, as the linen was easy-peasy to sew. I used a clapper to press where the bias tape ends on the front. The fabric responded really well to steam for both easing puckers and shaping the shoulder seams over my tailor’s ham. So, yes, a reassuring fabric to work with, both during and after sewing.
I mentioned earlier about the weight of the fabric being useful for my make. When you do up the waist ties it draws the pyjamas upwards, affecting their length and fall. This is where you benefit from the weight of the linen as the suit still falls with a pleasing drape. I personally prefer fabrics with more substance than floatiness but that’s just me.
I can imagine a lighter weight cotton might flare out more which is less my cup of tea but may well be yours. Personally, I’d keep drape as a top priority for this pattern given it’s fullness, so this floral cotton-linen was perfect. It will also last well, softening and fading beautifully over time - hopefully, like me, ha!
I’m pleased with how the suit turned out and looking forward to taking it to the beach. This Lady McElroy floral cotton linen played a large part in its success. The make comes together quickly and easily - even more so if you’re not doing French seams, so I hope you decide to give it a whirl, girls. Before you know it you’re pressing the hem and wondering how many sun downs til your holiday!
One last thing…
I’d add this as a digestif… I wish I’d made a matching bag! A simple tote would be a lovely touch for your holiday read, sunscreen and, say, a few euros for cocktails? So bear it in mind if you decide to sew something up in this fabric.
Thanks heaps for reading about my experience with Lady McElroy Floral Cotton Linen, you can find it here.
Do you ever get Fabric in the mail and you just can’t put it down? That is how I felt when this Minerva knit arrived at my doorstep. It is just the most amazing knit, not only in the feel but the drape and the colors. It is fabulous! I did put the fabric down, well, to the washing machine for prewashing. The emerald knit was just as pretty after the washing and drying.
It was time to decide what to make with this knit, I went through my patterns and decided a maxi-dress. I looked a few more times to get just the right one. This fabulous Minerva fabric deserves a fabulous pattern, and McCall’s 7591 was the perfect pattern. The description was “Fitted pullover dresses have lined bodices, front and back bodice variations, elastic waistlines and length variations.” I went with View D with some changes:
Lengthened the bodice by one inch, I am long waisted and this is a standard adjustment for me
I used the same knit fabric for the lining, I felt like I needed the same stretch and drape to make it work correctly
The front bodice has gathers at the neckline and the front lining does not have the gathers but does have a dart for shaping. I lowered this dart by 3/4”.
This fabric is a printed on design so the wrong side is white and I did not want this to show. Note on View D there is a big front slit. So with each step the wrong side would show. My solution, use the back skirt piece for the front also. Worked perfectly!!
The seam allowance for the skirt to bodice is 5/8”, I went with ¾”. The skirt is heavy with this knit and I used wider elastic for the waistline to keep the skirt up. I used 3/8” elastic for this
The front small band between the left and right front bodice was interfaced. I used an interfacing with no stretch. My small little band is shorter than the pattern shows
Small handstitches were used to close the bodice front.
As I stated earlier this fabric just floats and drapes, which I feel is perfect for this style of dress. This knit was so easy to sew. The entire bodice was constructed on my sewing machine with a small zig-zag to help with the stretch. The pattern calls for topstitching only on the armholes and back neck edge. I was having trouble keeping the lining fabric in place, so I topstitched the above areas and the front neck edge and the crossover of the bodice.
Nothing seems to say summer like a maxi dress and this fabric looks like summer too. I couldn’t have asked for a better combination and this dress looks great from front, back and side.
I think I am going to wear this dress so much for the summer months, just sitting soaking up the sunshine.
I have stated earlier in this blog post, this fabric is fabulous, head over to Minerva and get some yardage for yourself. While you are shopping, I am going to enjoy summer in my new maxi dress.
Lori @ Girls In The Garden
Posted in Projects on Sunday the 5th July 2020 by Vicki Ormerod
Summer has well and truly arrived here in Bristol and so what better time to start making another (much needed), summer dress? As a lover of Tesuiti Fabrics patterns, and after being so pleased with my versions of their Berlin Jacket, I decided to give their Lisa Dress a go. It’s a gorgeous high waisted, sleeveless dress pattern, with gathered waist and a button down bodice. The detail that really appealed to me was the way that the bodice is raised at the front (underneath the bust), but dips down at the back, which gives it a very different and interesting shape. And as a very casual and loose fitting garment, I thought that it would probably get a lot of wear!
With this dress pattern in mind, I chose to sew with Minerva’s Viscose Popcorn Fabric. It’s a medium weight crepe fabric that is very textured, which I thought would complement the simplicity of the Lisa Dress. The colour availability on this fabric is wonderful, lots of muted ‘dusty’ tones in earthy colours and probably rather predictably, I went for the blue.
I love how clear Tessuti Patterns instructions are and this one was no exception. The photographic illustrations really help if you get stuck although I do recommend using a computer or tablet if you have one when looking at them as the detail can be quite hard to see on a phone.
The pattern itself is made up of 9 pieces and when pinning I found it useful to use longer, thicker pins because the movement within the fabric made the smaller ones slip out. I also used a lot of pins to keep the fabric still! A rotary blade might have been a better option in this instance but I’m a sucker for scissors...
As part of the pattern pieces, Tessuti recommend using Vilene shields for the neckline and armholes for stability whilst sewing, and then tearing them away afterwards. I couldn’t find such a thing online, so as an alternative I used some bad quality fine interfacing that I had knocking around, and ironed it on very lightly, so it could be pulled off easily, which worked really well.
I really love this fabric but I definitely wouldn’t recommend this as a beginner’s fabric. It is composed of 5% elastane, although because of its weight, it feels like it has much more movement and has a tendency to pull slightly as you sew. This can cause wavy seams. I used a long stitch to sew with to combat this and so as not to crush the texture too much and I also omitted some of the double stitching on the skirt pieces because of this. Another challenge I came across was pressing the garment as I didn’t want to flatten the texture too much.
One amendment that I made to the pattern was to raise the hemline by around a foot, just for personal taste.
Overall I did find sewing this dress more challenging than I was expecting, although I love the finished garment. The fabric feels floaty and airy (contrary to its weight), and the pattern is very wearable. If I were to make it again I would reduce the size of the armholes on the pattern as I find them slightly too big and I probably wouldn’t pair the 2 together again, as I think that the fabric would be more suited to a pattern with fewer seams, although as I said, I love the outcome.
I hope that you enjoyed reading my blog. If you did, please check out more of mine and my sewing partners makes @bristol_stitch on Instagram.
Hello everyone! My name is Andrea from Andreadsews.com also known as @andreanaturally on Instagram and this is my VERY FIRST blog post with Minerva and I am EXTREMELY excited to be here. For my first post, I decided to go big or go home. I needed to make something that really stuck out and what other fabric to use than the classic widely loved Denim. To make it even better it is STRETCH Denim!
For a little while now I have been thinking back to my days where I was a little diva, when I actually started liking girl clothes and not dressing like my two older brothers - middle school. One of my absolute favorite outfits from middle school was this two piece outfit my mother bought me that came with a beautiful pair of stretch denim skinny pants and long denim jacket that reached about calf length, for comparison I was about an inch shorter than I am now, about 5'6 (lol). For this collaboration however, I found a pattern that made me go all the way in and I decided why not make a denim top to go with it. As for the grey, I loved the way this denim looked on screen, it just spoke to me and I am usually an extremely colorful creator but I just couldn't pass this up!
For this look, I used New Look pattern N6627 to create the skinny pants and the top. I really loved how the large buttons looked on this top. This pattern comes with both a skirt option and the pants so you can create a completely different look by switching the bottoms. The heart buttons I used were buttons I have had for about 5 years now (since I started sewing). I was happy to use them for this top. The buttons really do matter because it adds a little something special to your top so get creative with your button options! This pattern would be perfect in a lighter weight fabric as well, but this denim really turned it into a whole diva mood.
For the Jacket, I used Simplicity s8554. I have sewn this pattern before and I am in love with the outcome. I went with the longest view, which is the same I have made before because I know that it reaches about calf length which is exactly how long my original denim jacket was. I decided not to interface the denim with this jacket because the denim is pretty stable on its own and I didn't want it to be too stiff. I also decided to make this a sleeveless jacket. I didn't hem the sleeves so that over time the denim frays and obtains a distressed effect. This pattern comes with many different jacket options for your own custom look if you wish to recreate this.
These two patterns combined with this beautiful stretch denim is the perfect recipe for a whole diva-in-denim look. Go on with yo' bad self!
Thank you for reading and I hope you all enjoyed my very first Minerva post! See you next time!
It was perfect for the autumn and was a much-worn item through the winter. I loved it so much I made a cord version too.
However, both of these versions are way too heavy for the summer months and in my head, I planned and hacked and thought about how I could alter the pattern to be a summer dress.
When I saw this lightweight Chambray Fabric I knew it was the perfect fabric to make into a summer version of this dress.
So what were the changes that I made to the pattern?
Firstly, I decided that short sleeves were the way to go. I traced the sleeve pattern onto tissue paper and decided how long I wanted the sleeves to be. I drew a line across the pattern piece, perpendicular to the grainline and checked that the sides were the same length. Then I added a 3cm seam allowance and angled the seam allowance to ensure it would fit flush with the sleeve once folded up.
Secondly, I decided to lengthen the skirt and make a cocoon-shaped hem. I added 10 to the length and curved the side seams in, planning to add a couple of shallow darts to the front and back skirt to shape it more. However, once the dress was sewn up the length looked far too long and a bit ridiculous. I decided at this point that the skirt should stay A-line but finish just below my knee and I chopped off the excess. This seemed to fit better with the fabric and the short sleeves.
The original dress has a hood and a covered elastic cuff at the hem. I completely omitted the cuff as I’d changed the length so dramatically. The pattern comes with a neck facing to use if you decide not to use the hood, so this was perfect.
I matched the thread and began construction. This is a super easy pattern and helped by this very easy to sew fabric, the construction only took about 2 hours from start to finish. There is quite a bit of topstitching on this pattern, at the waist, pockets and on the back seams. As the fabric was so light I kept the topstitching light too and just used a row of my regular thread. The raw edges were all finished with the overlocker.
Once the dress was shortened I finished the facing edge and the hem edge and topstitched them into place to create a neat finish. This dress is just as relaxed as its winter sister, it’s casual and comfy and the chambray fabric used makes it suitable for everyday wear or as a holiday throw on and it would be perfect for travelling in warmer climates - now then where is that heatwave when you need one!!!!
See you again soon
I have a sewist confession to make, and its worse than that time I willingly omitted pockets from a pattern.
I used to dislike linen.
I didn't have much experience with it. My husband had a couple shirts in this crunchy, ever-wrinkled, almost-scratchy stuff that had “linen” on the tag. I knew what linen was supposed to be about, but never got it for myself. Until, one day, at a favourite secondhand shop, I found a long, black, simple dress with buttons. It was incredibly soft. A lightbulb went on for me then, I actually loved linen- when it was old.
When I saw the John Kaldor “Salso” Fabric I fell in love with the brushstroke-style stripe and the delicious colorway. It was time to give linen another go! Blended with viscose, its really the perfect all- seasons fabric. It breathes, drapes, layers, softens, and could go anywhere and feel at home. The best part is that I know it will get even better with age. It begs a classic pattern that layers well into my wardrobe and goes from the beach to appointments to the grocery and to dinner.
I made the Adelia dress by The Hemming once previously last fall, and wore it over jeans and tights and loved the boxy, modern, fit. It feels minimalist and luxe all at once. It suits my day. I would say it is more or less designed to be made in linen (though I love testing fabric choices and coming up with a completely new garment using the same pattern) and this fabric performed well here.
To prepare, I washed and dried the fabric twice to ensure sufficient shrinkage. For me, this garment will be worn well and often and will need to be laundered as such. It came out the dryer with hardly a crease, but presses nicely-of course -with an iron.
This pattern is not difficult, but has a unique placket method that results in a beautiful finish. The instructions are very well done. I would encourage any level of sewist to try it.
Take care to stay-stitch any curves in this case, the drape and sway of the fabric that makes it so lovely to wear also makes it shifty to sew at times. Proper edge finishing and interfacing will ensure a clean finish, but you will see one area that I need to go back and adjust- the patch pockets do not line up! The patch pockets are a modification to the pattern ( which includes inseam pockets) and I chose them to have some more stripey pattern play. The only fit modification I made was to shorten the garment at the shoulders by 1.5cm to raise the neckline and armscye. I cut the back bodice against the grain for more play with the stripes and added a self-belt tie for more wearing options.
After a fun day in the sunshine with my boys, I'm a little sunburnt but very comfortable and loving this dress. I have a hunch this fabric will be a popular one, but if you're on the fence about it, I hope I've helped you decide (to make something with it, of course).
Until next time, keep sewing and have fun!
Living in South Florida, we tend to have summer weather pretty much all year round. Coats and jackets and winter garments are worn probably 10% of the year while tank tops, sleeveless and regular clothing are worn the other 90% of the time. When I saw this beautiful Lady McElroy Linen Viscose Blend, I knew it was a winner. Besides the coolness and freshness of linen in hot and humid weather, it is one of my favorite fabrics to sew. I knew right away that I would make a maxi dress that I could rock on my birthday and to any outdoor formal event.
The pattern I selected for the bodice is a VINTAGE McCalls pattern M4870 that I received from my insta sew sister Laquana to share with sewist in the Carribean who do not have access to patterns. I saw it and knew I had to have it and exchanged it with a few current patterns that they would love.
When I saw the sweetheart style bodice with princess seams, I knew it was a winner. I quickly created a muslin as I wanted to make sure that the fit was to my taste and body. The muslin was absolutely perfect and required no modifications. I graded the size 12 slightly down by ½ inch from the notch to the waist area before making the muslin. In addition, I sewed the princess seam at ½ inch seam allowance and the remaining at 5/8 so that I could add Boning.
This pattern bodice has a facing and instead, I decided to create a lining by using the main pattern pieces for a more clean and formal finish on the inside.
Structured Bodice Tips:
When working with a bodice that requires structure, be sure to use boning and interface even if the pattern instructions may not tell you to especially if the bodice does not have straps. I opted to interface the main bodice instead of the lining as I wanted a more structured fit. With this color and linen fabric, the Black Interface worked out perfect after testing it on a small sample.
In addition, I used flat boning on the seams of the lining except the front princess seam. This allowed the dress to lay beautiful on it’s own. Before understitching, I opted to attach the skirt and insert the zipper to ensure that I was satisfied with the entire fit of the dress. I noticed a small issue with the zipper area of the skirt. I apparently forgot to interface it and adding a small strip fixed it. Before finishing the lining, my final steps including trimming the seams, understitching the bodice, and giving it a final good press. I personally believe that pressing is as critical as sewing and cutting. For every seam that I finish, I always press to seal the stitch and give it a crisp look.
I knew I did not want to use the pencil skirt pattern and checked the measurements of my Vogue 9253 (with pockets) to see if the seams and darts lined up with the bodice.
To my amazement, it matched perfectly and of course, I cut and sewed it up with a smile. When mixing different patterns to create a look, always ensure that darts and or seams match before cutting.
I measured a previous Vogue make and realized that I only had to make one easy modification to the skirt pattern front piece. The only change required was to create 2 smaller front pleats instead of the inverted pleat to line up with the seam and to ensure that the side seams matched. The darts and the bodice back seam lined up and no modifications were needed.
I am totally in love with this make as well as the FIT! I always wanted to add a tailored linen blend dress to my collection of linen makes. I know for sure that the dress will be worn to any formal or beach wedding event in Jamaica (my homeland) or here in the South Florida (US)!
I absolutely love the versatility of this dress as I can rock it with and without a belt!
Thank you so much for reading! I have shared video tutorials and tips for this Minerva make and have saved them in the Highlights section on Instagram. Be sure to stop by my blog (Overdriveafter30) too to check out my latest make.