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Shimmer Chic Jacquard Ulysses Trench

If you are a textile lover like me, you probably know that feeling when you fall in love with a fabric at first sight. To me, this happened when I saw the Atelier Brunette Shimmer Chic Jacquard on the Minerva website. The photo there captivated me at once but doesn't do it full justice - it is even more gorgeous in person! 
Atelier Brunette Fabrics are known for their modern sophistication and excellent quality. This made-in-France jacquard certainly lives up to the name. What attracts me immediately is the simple geometric pattern all over that is fresh and unique, nothing like the traditional intricate patterns I often associate with jacquard. 
The main fibre composition is cotton which gives its soft and supple hand. Both side of the fabric are beautiful, although technically the smoother black side is the right side. Strands of Lurex are woven in to give the fabric its subtle shimmer. They are more pronounced on the reverse silver side which really glitters when it catches light! 

For a medium weight cotton fabric, this jacquard is amazingly fluid and drapey. Before I received the fabric, I assumed it has more structure and body to it and intended to make a coat with boxy silhouette such as the Sew Over It Cocoon coat. But when I draped it over my shoulder I know this beauty would really shine in a draped design. Sadly I have not many occasion for a metallic party dress which it would be fabulous for! I wanted a comfortable garment that I can wear daily even with this luxurious fabric and not get asked - what's the special occasion? 

The quest for the perfect pattern ended when I saw the Ulysses Trench by Victory Patterns. It is an on-trend coatigan with a trench coat twist. The amazingly talented designer Kristiann at Victory Patterns incorporates the many elements of a trench coat such as the rain guard, shoulder epaulettes and back vent into a versatile drape-front wrap. The effect is immediately sophisticated and cozy at the same time. To me, the fabric and pattern really hit the same chord in terms of design aesthetics. What's more, the elements like the draped lapels are just begging to show off a fabric with two "right" sides! 

The Ulysses pattern comes in both paper and PDF format. Both versions provide crystal clear instructions with beautifully illustrated technical drawings, which is a piece of art on its own. If you are an adventurous beginner starting to sew outerwear, I would highly recommend this pattern as it really holds your hand going through each seam literally! The Ulysses is unlined with no collar, so for a coat it actually is fairly simple in construction.

If you are an experienced sewist, you will be delighted to follow Kristiann's impeccable techniques to construct the many fun elements. Everything is thought through with a keen eye on both function and design. Even the inside is beautiful - All seams are cleanly finished with bias binding. I made the tape from a vibrant cotton/silk lawn to add a pop of colour to the inside. 

Truthfully, the hardest part of this project was deciding which side of this gorgeous fabric to use as the outside! I cut the main body pieces out and draped them on the mannequin to ponder over. I love them both so much and really could happily wear it either way! I even polled fellow sewists on Instagram and it's an even split there too. The darker side is subtle and luxurious, while the silver side is simply glamorous! In the end I chose the black on the outside because it's more understated and versatile for various occasions. (I saw some comments about the silver side being slightly scratchy due to the higher Lurex content but personally it didn't bother me to wear it next to my skin.) Also, the draped lapels of the Ulysses allow the silver side to peak through and I really like how the light colour frames the face.

My favourite element of the coat is the back rain guard. Cut on the bias, it drapes gracefully and its curved edge merges into the built-in belt loop. Pure genius! Of course I couldn't resist showing it off with the contrast silver side, which really glistens as the bias piece moves! The recommend fabric for the Ulysses is rayon twill. Since the jacquard is a bit heavier than that, I eliminated the lining of the rain guard to achieve maximum drape. To do this, I simply serged the bottom edge and turned it up. The original lining also acts as a facing to the belt loop opening, so I had to draft a separate little facing/binding. If you are interested in doing the same, here are the brief steps:

1 - Interface the wrong side of the belt loop opening. The interfacing should be just large enough to cover the stitch lines. Mark the stitch lines on the interfacing. Cut a piece of lining 4cm x 9cm.
2 - Pin the lining to the rain guard, right sides together.
3 - Stitch along the marked stitch lines.
4 - This is how the right side looks at this point.
5 - Trim about 1cm inside stitch lines. Clip in the corners to the stitch line. 
6 - This is how the right side looks at this point.

7 - Turn the lining to the wrong side of the rain guard.
8 - Carefully turn and press the edge of the lining in, about 1cm around all sides. Stitch it down about 2mm from the edge. 
9 - I also stitched 2mm away from the loop opening, from the right side.
10 - This is how the wrong side looks like in the end. 

The rain guard in contrast colour really makes this coat stand out from the back! In addition, I also made the belt reversible to echo the two-toned look. I just can't get enough of how stunning the belt looks peaking out from under the curved rain guard! For the shoulder epaulettes, I selected some vintage metal buttons with a distressed look. I know I will be keeping my hands in the roomy patch pockets all the time so I omitted the pocket flap for easy access. 

I should mention that I sized down from the recommended size for my measurement to achieve a more fitted look. I also shortened the overall length by 5 inches to accommodate my 5'2" / 158cm frame. This was easily done at the pattern's indicated shorten/lengthen lines. I took off 1 inch above waist and 4 inch below. The back hem hits just at my knees which I prefer. 

In terms of the sewing process, I approached the fabric with the respect it deserved and am happy to report that It was a dream to work with. Being mostly cotton, the jacquard handles almost like a cotton canvas, just softer! I pressed at the wool setting and avoided steam so as not to damage the Lurex threads. Whenever in doubt, use a press cloth. The fabric is surprisingly forgiving when it comes to curved seams, as in the set-in sleeves. I used a standard black thread throughout and it's almost invisible.  

I am so in love with my finished Ulysses! It's just the perfect balance of style, utility, comfort and luxury. I can throw it on over any outfit and feel instantly fabulous. The weight is perfect for adding a layer of warmth in transitional seasons. On warmer days I will wear it open with the sleeves rolled up, and let the draped front cascade down. For cooler days I can wrap the front closed and cinch the belt for a more traditional trench coat look. 

Luckily for me, Autumn weather has finally arrived here in Virginia so I will be reaching for my Ulysses everyday. And for all that shimmer and sparkles, I might just be wearing it as my party dress too in the upcoming holiday season ;-)

Until next time,

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A Christmas Rosa Shirt Dress

I was absolutely over the moon when I was given the chance to become part of the Minerva Crafts Creative Team! I have never attempted anything like this before, so thought the time was right to focus on a new challenge and start blogging about my makes.

My name is Terri, though my friends in the sewing community know me as Tee. I'm Welsh, as mad as a box of frogs and I don't like to take life too seriously. I am a happy go lucky kind of gal and am always the one seen to be pulling funny faces in photo's. I just love making people laugh... anyway...

I first started sewing because I wanted to alter my clothes to fit me, to just hem the odd pair of trousers, shorten a skirt etc. I had been shopping this one day and found it really hard to find something I was comfortable in. I came home empty handed, frustrated and wishing I could make my clothes myself. That was the week I randomly went out and bought my first machine. Hubs thought it was another phase... sadly for him, it was not. I started off working from a cupboard in the spare room which housed a little desk and a set of drawers for my 'things'. It was there I began making cushions, bunting and the odd bag, whilst hacking at shop bought clothes, just to make them look at least a little bit presentable. I was too scared to attempt making clothing from scratch for myself. That was until around a year ago, I realised that the online sewing community was huge, full of inspiration and style, with heaps of help and advice. I have been non stop creating since then and have now taken over the whole spare room, and no longer live in just the cupboard.

I absolutely love Christmas and everything about it. When I was asked to review this Christmas Fabric, I was so excited to get started. Within a couple of hours of it arriving, it was washed and dried. It came out really soft, with hardly any need for pressing. I had no issues with any colours running either, yay!

I decided to make the lovely Tilly and the Buttons Rosa. The pattern comes in a shirt version as well as a dress version. I decided to go for the dress version as I wanted to wear it with some snuggly tights and boots. I thought this would be ideal as It looked an easy pattern to be able to alter for my shape. I find Tilly's patterns really easy to follow as she explains the steps so well, as well as providing pictures to help if you get stuck.

The pattern has princess seams, which I love, in my eyes they always make a garment look really feminine.

The fabric was really easy to work with and stayed put when pinned and clipped, meaning the collar was a breeze to construct. The only issue I had with the collar, was not being able to predict which way the fabric would sit when finished. The fabric on my collar sits upside down. It's not a big issue, though having my gingerbread men the right way round would have been cool! 

I was particularly nervous about making this pattern as I still class myself as a beginner when it comes to dressmaking. I have never attempted a shirt before as buttonholes really do scare me... I was planning on using these Buttons for this project but chickened out last minute and used KAM Snaps. I'm really glad I did in the end as I think they add a splash of Christmas colour to make it so much more fun. I also finished my seams with my overlocker using rainbow thread so the inside is as colourful as the outside.

I didn't follow the pattern when it came to the sleeves, I wanted to create a different look so lengthened the sleeve and finished with an elasticated hem. This was really easy to do and took very little time. I created a tunnel by sewing  the fabric folded over once, leaving a little gap for elastic to be threaded through. I then connected the elastic ends and stitched, folded over the fabric again and stitched around to close the gaps and secure the elastic. To finish off, I hemmed the bottom and she was ready to go.

Rosa is an awesome make, I am already planning on making lots of different versions. For anyone wanting to make this, but too scared, do it! 

Until next time...
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How to Sew the Perfect Holiday Outfit with Velvet Chiffon

I love the velvet print on this Chiffon Fabric. When I saw this fabric online, the design made me immediately think of the holidays. I envisioned wearing my new garment to holiday parties, winter events and all the way through until Valentine’s day! For my project, I selected the black print, but this fabric is also available in five additional shades: burgundy, cream, gold, navy, and silver!

Chiffon is a great layering fabric and commonly used to sew dresses, blouses, scarves and even lingerie. Although beautiful, the silky material can be a challenge to work with since the fabric is slippery and easily frays (even past sewn seams).

Tips for How to Sew with Chiffon

To avoid fraying on this project, I recommend finishing your seams with one of the following options:

- Serge or Zig-zag your edges

- Use Fray Check

- Sew a French Seam

If you’re new to working with Chiffon, this fabric would be the perfect material to try out a pattern! The added velvet print on the chiffon added additional texture to the lightweight fabric, which made it easier to sew. My sewing machine had very little trouble with the material and it did not catch or snag while I was sewing.

Pattern Ideas to Use with this Fabric

Before I began my project, I took some time to browse the Minerva Craft’s website. I had a difficult time narrowing down my choices for this project because I found several patterns that would work great with this material! In the end, I decided to use my new fabric to make version B of New Look Pattern 6262, and love how my completed dress turned out! 

But instead of wasting my research, I wanted to provide you with pattern ideas to help save you time ...so you can begin your project sooner! :)

Blouse Ideas

Simplicity Pattern 1108

New Look Pattern 6414

New Look Pattern 6225

Burda Pattern 6840

Holiday Dress Sewing Patterns

New Look Pattern 6261

New Look Pattern 6392

Burda Pattern 6583

Materials Used to Make New Look Pattern 6262, Version B Dress:

Burn Out Velvet Chiffon Fabric

Lace Trim

Stretch Lining Fabric

Invisible Zipper

Pattern Used:

New Look Pattern 6262 Summer Dresses

Modifications to Pattern:

- Extended the length of the sleeves

- Minor adjustments to the neckline

- Added Trim around the neckline and at the end of the sleeves

I am so happy with how my dress turned out! I love the material and cannot wait to start wearing it to winter parties and upcoming date nights!

Thanks for reading,

Kelsey @ Seamlined Living

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Luxurious Fur Jacket!

All I want for Christmas is…. a me-made cosy and luxurious fur jacket to compliment my little black (sleeveless…brrrr) dress.
Scrolling through the Minerva website I found a lot of perfect fabrics for this. My inspiration are some  colorblocked fur jackets I’ve found on Pinterest. That means I had to choose different furs. Jolly! So much fun!
I choose 3 faux fur fabrics. A dusky pink one which is on the inside like Suede Fabric. A black Fur Fabric and a Mottled Fur in mauve. These ones are very stretchy and have a knitted inside.
To determine which fabric would go where I just draped the fabric on my mannequin. Then I decided how big the stripes or blocks should be and simply drew lines on my pattern. I used a simple pattern for a Chanel inspired jacket. You could use McCalls 7549, an open front banded jacket with yoke.
It was a fun jigsaw, not a first for me. I put the pattern pieces at the back side of the fabric, so it was easier. I took a larger seam allowance that I would normally do. Just to be safe. Before cutting I transferred the pattern with baste tread on to the black and the mottled one and used a pen for tracing on the pink (suede) one.
First I cut the different fabric pieces with the vacuum cleaner standby! You’ll need it. After cutting I vacuumed the edges at the lowest setting.
Then the assembly could begin and I pinned and then stitched the pieces together. Thank God I numbered the pieces!
I added pockets, may I add… INVISIBLE pockets, to the jackets. I used the lowest pink stripe for this. Before stitching I put some masking tape over the entrance so I wouldn’t stitch over the hairs.
Before putting the rest together I ironed fusible interfacing on the facing at the front. First I tried out on some remnants of the fabric if you could iron it at all. It’s possible! Just put your iron on ‘silk-modus’. While stitching the seams I added a non-stretch (bias) tape along the front of the neckline and shoulder seams. To reinforce the shoulder and to give more body to the neckline at the front.
I put in some lining and the moment when you turn the jacket is always kind of magical. Check my Instagram, because I captured this moment in a little video.
As a finishing I topstitched the hemline at the bottom, at the sleeves and along the front and neckline. After stitching I pull out the fastened hair with a pin. Just scraping gently over the stitch line. Again I have to refer you guys to a little video on my Instagram showing this process.
This scraping you should also do after stitching the different fur fabrics together. So the hairs are blending in nicely with each other, making it look like the jackets is made out of one fabric.
The jacket is soooooo soft, warm and very luxuries. Definitely wearing this during the festivities: Christmas ánd New Year’s eve.
Happy Holidays everyone!!
Cheers!
Marlies @madebyliesl
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Attachable Sequin Peplum

Hi Guys, 
How’s it going???  The lovely ladies at Minerva had another amaaazing piece of Fabric to send me, and I have been sooo excited to share what I made with you.  I think it’s going to be the perfect ‘frosting’ to wear for the upcoming holidays! So without further ado…. sequins!
It’s a skirt… but it’s a skirt I plan to wear over dresses, so in a way it’s almost like an attachable peplum? I loooove how it came. Initially I was going to make it into an even-hemmed midi length circle skirt, but you know how these things go. The creativity bug gets you and you start letting the garment dictate how the scissors snip. A part of me feels like I may never be able to make a even hemmed skirt, because I just love how a high-low hem frames the legs, but I mean even with a dress underneath I feel like that high low hem just adds layers somehow.  I def don’t regret giving my initial vision a bit of a haircut.
In general this was a simple concept (if you need any help figuring out the math for a circle skirt, the By Hand London ladies have a free calculator on their site), but because of how I wanted to finish things it turned out much more complicated. The skirt part is a full circle with a high low hem ( I just free handed it)… as I mentioned… and then I made a tall waistband for the front.  The back of the waist is finished with two long grossgrain ribbons on each side and tied at the back, because who doesn’t like a couple dangly bits to add some drama amirite??
The hem is finished with horse hair braid and two layers of grossgrain.  I sewed the horsehair and first layer of grosgrain onto the skirt separately and by hand and let me tell you that took a frickin’ long time x2 !  So by the time I got to the second layer of grosgrain, I decided to sew it on by machine. Unfortunately I think that ribbon ended up having less ease as a result and you can see tension in the ‘under ribbon’. I’m not going to lie.  It kind of annoys me… I kind of wish I had had the patience to hand pick the last layer on, but what’s done is done… unless I ever build up the energy to redo it… which is unlikely at this point.
This was my first time working with such a sequin-heavy fabric and despite a very palpable feeling of fear going into it, it really wasn’t bad to work with at all.  Honestly as far as the sewing went, I didn’t really do anything differently. I just made sure to use heavier needles and then I let them do all the work. It did take a little extra hand endurance to cut out my pieces and I did end up breaking a needle in my machine, and yes, I did cover the floor of my entire house in sequin shrapnel, but I think we can agree it was all worth it.  Other than that, I tried to clip out any overly excessive sequins from the seam allowances and then bound them in gross grain, which IMO makes the insides look so fancy.
The longer dress with the sleeves is the dress I had had in mind to wear this with from the start but I found the sleeveless body-con dress in my drawer and decided to throw it over that one as well and I think it’s my favorite of the two.  The longer one I have had for years.  It fits great, but honestly I think I’ve worn it to like 70% of my friends weddings…ie it was getting a little ‘yesterday’s news’ if ya know what I mean.  The sleeveless one was a hand me down from a friend and is literally so short I couldn’t figure out how to wear it before now.  I love that this new skirt is majorly bringing back life to these two dresses.  Now if anyone has a fancy party you would like to invite me to, I’m ready and available…you can DM me an invite at @jinxandgunner or leave a comment on my blog jinxandgunner.blogspot.com.  K??Cool :).  In the meantime you’ll find me at every holiday party-ever twirling like a disco ball in my new fancy skirt :o).
Until next time! 
Kten
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Christmas Kimono

Hi, here I am again on the blog with a Christmas sewing story!

Have you ever seen the “Christmas with the Kranks”? I got inspired the moment  when Jamie Lee Curtis took out her Christmas gilet. I’ve always wanted one or at least something like that ... so the time to make one has finally come.

It will not be an actual gilet, I prefer calling it a Christmas kimono set on the Simplicity Pattern 1318.

Maybe I shouldn’t call it kimono, it may start looking like one but it will be a jacket in the end.

Let's talk about the most delightful step, the fabric choosing. I thought about combining two fabrics of Minervacrafts, the first one is Christmas Velour Fabric, the second one is a furry colour cream fabric: Lambskin Sherpa Fabric. So create a double-face jacket, with a side to show on Christmas Eve and another to show on a cold winter day.

I thought about simply creating two jackets and combining them.

I had no doubt that on Minerva I would have found the right fabric. I found the Christmas printed velvet. It’s got bright colors, it’s very elastic, light and soft. It’s an excellent alternative to the classic velvet. Its soft velvet side reflects the light making it bright.

The other fur fabric is very soft, light and comfortable to wear. Surely it will be my favorite part!

I was initially worried by this experiment, often there are differences between what we imagine and what we do. But it was very simple in the end, the risk of errors is very low using this kind of pattern.

I started studying accurately the pattern’s instructions and I found them easy. I made some variation to make it double face.

Here are the changes I had  to make:

• No central stitching on the back side;
• The sleeve edge will no longer be a whole piece but will be made with the two combined fabrics. I will fold the pattern in half to get two pieces with the two fabrics;
• I have cut the edge of the front opening and back neckline from both fabrics, to match them with the 2 faces of the kimono.

Other useful general considerations are:

• After making the seams at 1.50 cm from the edge, I trimmed all the margins to 0.50 cm;
• The edges of fabric with Christmas print doesn’t need to be finished. Be carefully to put the velvet on the right side before cutting it, it has a smoother and a rougher verse and the smooth sense goes down;
• The hairy tissue should be finished with zig zags because the cuts tend to disintegrate;
• For the parts of the edges in the front opening and the sleeves, I only reinforced  the hairy fabric with adhesive fabric. The Christmas printed fabric does not adhere well to the adhesive reinforcing fabric.

I started matching parts following the pattern instructions:

• sew the shoulder seams joining the back side with the two front parts;
• pin the sleeves with the back and front parts, paying attention to the points of coincidence and sew ;
• sew the sides of the sleeve, slightly reinforcing the point under the arm.

All these steps for both of the  fabrics.

I composed with the two fabrics the cuffs and the front collar.

I decided to attach the edges to the kimono with the same fabric on the 2 faces, to make the garment wearable on several occasions.

I sewed the collar on the front opening of the two kimonos, closing and finishing the lower part. I put the sleeves one inside the other and I tried the kimono on both faces, it was perfect!

I fixed and sewed the cuffs on the back side of the sleeves, using the lower opening.

The last step was to join the two edges of the lower edge. I made the hems on the two parts. Then overlapping them I joined them by hand with a hidden point. The stitch should not be too tight to allow the two fabrics to fall naturally and lightly.

Sewing this double-face kimono was very pleasant, the two fabrics are easy to sew, the garment is wide so it should not be taken up or retouched.

Surely I’ll also make a summer version with lighter fabrics, because it’s versatile and really easy-to-sew.

But there’s also a problem... if you have a Christmas kimono and a teenager at home, you can only admire it on her who literally takes possession of it.

Merry Christmas from me and Melissa (my friend who has kindly reviewed this text)

Till the next DIY story

Madalina @ Twin Tacks

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Blush Fall Coat

Hello Minerva Craft blog readers—I’m Allie of alliemjackson.com and I’m thrilled to be back with another project starring Minerva Crafts' fabric!

Waffle Patterns is a small pattern company that specializes in outerwear; of their pattern collection, about half are vests, coats, and jackets! Yuki, the designer, says her “patterns are simple design with vintage essence and you can make stylish and functional daily wears” and in my opinion, the Waffle Patterns Bamboo Coat exemplifies this aesthetic. I spent ages looking for a simple, menswear-style coat that had clean lines and no unnecessary frills, but that still had all the little details that would make the project shine. 

The Bamboo coat is a straight-silhouette coat with a few options that you can swap around for different looks: three-quarter or long sleeves, two hem lengths, and a round neck or tailored notched collar. It’s a whole coat wardrobe all in one! I’ve been dying to make the traditional collared version for several years, but was waiting until I found the exact right fabric…

This blush pink poly/viscose Coating Fabric from Minerva was the perfect pairing--I love the combination of the classic menswear shape with the unexpectedly feminine color of the fabric. The mixed fibers mean it will be durable and easy to maintain, and was super easy to work with. The lining is from my stash—it’s been in there for ages and I’m not sure where it’s from.

As for the fit, I was a bit nervous taking on this pattern since Japanese patterns are often drafted for a shorter height and slimmer build than UK or US patterns, however, I found the sleeve and overall length to be spot on, and in fact I had to make a small bust adjustment—my only fit adjustment (and one I make quite frequently as you’ll see in my last post for Minerva crafts!). The coat is drafted with a lovely French dart to add shaping, but my adjustment eliminated it entirely—I like to think it adds to the menswear look.

For when I want to feel a bit more feminine in my menswear-inspired coat (it is pink after all!), I used a few leftover scraps to make a simple self-fabric tie belt. Some vintage Lilli Ann coats like this one have this feature and I think it’s so smart; cinching in the waist of a swingy or straight-cut coat can totally change the its look! Left hanging straight, it’s more modern, but cinched, all I need is a faux-fux detachable collar and I’ll have a 60s Lilli Ann lookalike!

I anticipate wearing this coat all winter, and I think the lovely color will help brighten up some of my midwinter all-black outfits. Since I had such success in this first tailored coat, though, I’m tempted to add a few more versions in different colors—I love the duck egg grey color available in the same Poly Viscose Coating Fabric, and the mustard and red would be gorgeous and bold (perhaps with the round neckline and three quarter length sleeves?). Of course, for classicists, there is also navy, black, and camel! Which color would you choose?  

Thanks for reading,

Allie @ Allie Jackson

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Christmas Eve Caddy

I love Christmas Eve, it’s probably my favourite family evening of the year. Since I was a young girl the family have always gathered in the evening to watch a movie in our Christmas P.J’s and nibble on some sweet treats. I have continued the tradition into my own family and so there was only one thing to make…A Christmas Eve Caddy.

This is a very easy project and can have multiple uses. You will need:

X5 9” Squares of main Fabric

X1 9” Square of Lining Fabric (the base)

X4 9“ (Width) by 10” (Height) (main lining)

X5 9” Squares Wadding

X2 strips of 1” wide Cotton Webbing, 24” in length.

Rotary Cutter/Scissors

Ruler

Below I have listed the instructions on how to construct the box, if you get stuck refer to the Debbie Shore YouTube tutorial ‘Sewing a Storage Cube’. This is how I initially learnt to make this. The only difference is I have added a border to my cube and that’s why our lining pieces have that extra inch.

  1. So, first things first we need to sew our wading pieces to the main fabric, I generally baste this in on the machine using a long stitch. Do this to all 5 main pieces.

  1. Next you will want to sew your handles on. Choose where you would like them to start. For the measurements provided above the handles are long enough to start at the bottom of the box. I quite like to start mine a little way up. That decision is yours! Lengthen or shorten to your preference. Then simply sew the webbing to the box being careful not to sew to the top of the box as you will need to sew your lining in. I like to leave a good 1-2” gap from the top of the box to the top of my webbing sew line.

  1. Sew the cube together! Start with the sides, I take around a 1cm seam allowance. Make sure your handles are on opposite sides at this point!!! Once the cube is sewn together you will need to insert the base. To do this line up a main cube sewn corner exactly with a bottom corner of your base, pop a pin in to secure the corner. Do the same at the corner you will be sewing towards. Then start sewing from the centre towards your first corner, you will be able to feel where you need to pivot but if you can’t, remember it is a 1cm seam allowance so you will need to pivot at that point. You then sew the next part of the base in until you are all the way around and back to where you started!

Well done…! You’ve made a cube and completed the hardest part!

  1. Now we are going to topstitch the corners of the box. This will help it to stand tall and give it a much better shape. I topstitch the base hems as well but that’s up to you. Squeeze the corner together and from the right side, sew all the way down each corner.

  1. It’s now time to focus on the lining. You will follow a similar method for creating the cubed lining as you did with the main. The only things to consider are - Just make sure you have your taller sections in height as they will make the border of your cube and most importantly leave a hole in the base of the lining cube around 20cm long as you will need to turn the whole cube right way out through this gap!! Once you have completed this you will want to place your main cube right sides together with the lining until the raw edges of both meet at the top.

You will now sew all the way around the top securing the lining to the main. Make sure you don’t catch the handles in! Once you have done this, find the hole in your lining and turn the whole thing right side out. Sew up the gap in the lining either on your machine or by hand for a more invisible finish. Push the lining to the inside of your cube. You will notice the lining is taller than the main…this is your border! I like to topstitch around this to hold it evenly in place, that choice is yours though. And then, that’s it – you have a Christmas caddy! Now it’s time to fill it with lots of treats, snuggle down and get excited about the big day!!!!

Happy Christmas Everyone!

Emma AKA @thezipperfoot

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Matching Christmas Jumpers & PJs

Christmas to me is just another excuse to make more things and to take it to a whole other level of fun, which in normal circumstances would be taken as a bit eccentric, and a bit bonkers!
When Minerva offered free reign of their website to make something crafty for Christmas, my thoughts were immediately to make a party dress, but I realised that I make party dresses all the time and so I should be a little bit more creative. I settled on sewing and decorating a Christmas jumper, and then I thought I could make a pair of Christmas morning PJ bottoms to complete the outfit. Once I had settled on this idea, I felt that Christmas is a time for going all out, so I decided to make matching Christmas jumpers and PJ bottoms for my fiancée and I, after all, if you cant do it at Christmas when can you?!
For the snowman jumpers I used the loop back Sweatshirt Fabric. It’s a jersey with not a lot of stretch. I find that I want to live in Christmas jumpers and yet with all the log fires and mulled wine, I’m often too hot to wear one. This sweatshirting is brilliant for this scenario (am I the only one who has this perpetual dilemma?!), as it’s warm enough to wear as a jumper, but you’re not going to get too hot in it. 
I decided to make a Linden sweatshirt, but without the neckband because there isn’t enough stretch in the fabric to get the neckband around, and I didn’t have enough leftover to cut a new one. My fiancée’s pattern is the Seamwork Paxson. This was a new pattern to me, and is a unisex raglan sleeve jumper. Had I not already cut mine out, I probably would have chosen this pattern for both of the jumpers.
For the decoration, I used a white anti-pill Polar Fleece Fabric for the snowman, and carefully cut out around various plates and bowls to make his shapes. I used a decorative stitch to secure him to the jumper front, and some random buttons and ribbon from my stash for his features. Throughout sewing up the jumpers I used a microtex needle, which helped a lot, especially going through the fleece and the sweatshirting.
For the PJ bottoms I used the Margot pattern from Tilly’s first book, Love at first stitch. These were a super quick make, even after needing to trace out the pattern pieces. I chose to substitute the drawstring for elastic, but other than that made them up without any alterations. The best thing about sewing PJ trousers is the fact that you are making trousers, and yet there isn’t any of the difficult fitting issues to contend with, or any of the fly fronts. Matt’s PJ bottoms come from the see and sew 3698 pattern which my mum had in her stash. The pattern envelope has a couple with very loose and shapeless PJ sets on, but the pattern was actually great to work with. This time the PJ bottoms came with a false fly front and an elasticated waist. I sewed these up according to the instructions, apart from the fly front where I just did what I thought looked right, and again these were super easy to sew up.
I made both PJ bottoms in a Christmas Fabric which is a cotton poplin, which was super easy to work with and feels quite nice to wear. Although the fabric has lots of little motifs on, I still think there is a direction to the print, as the stockings all face one direction, so do bear this in mind if you want to play patten Tetris.
If you cant be cheesy at Christmas and wear novelty matching outfits then when can you?! I’m properly pleased with how these all turned out and I am so looking forward to wearing these around the house on Christmas morning, opening our presents and taking photos in our matching outfits!
Thanks for reading,
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Needle Felting Christmas Gift Ideas

It’s Christmas! I was wracking my brain thinking about what I can make for Christmas presents this year and the answer came to me when I was in Anthropologie. They have these little felt jumper decorations with letters and embroidery on them and I thought, I could make something like that!
So I got the large Needle Felting Mat and Needle Felting Tool with 5 needles and some acrylic Felt Sheets. I was unsure about what kind of fibres would work with felting because I knew you could felt wool because of the structure of the fibres but hadn’t heard of anything else (it has little hooks on the fibres which is why some people find wool itchy!). Turns out acrylic fibres work out ok for flat felting so that’s great!
I cut out a jumper shape by going off a picture of the ones in Anthropologie, folding it in half to makes sure it was symmetrical. Then I used it to cut out another for the back piece. The ones I had seen were made of raw fibres so they had more volume than a flat sheet of felt so I decided to stuff mine so it had a bit more substance.
Then I cut some shapes for cuffs and other details for the jumper and felted them on! Basically you just lay the main piece of felt on the mat and position the piece you want to attach, my first ones were the cuffs. Then you get the felting tool, switch the safety switch, and poke the felt over and over and over again until the two pieces of felt have become blended together.
You’ll notice that it gets very fluffy on the underside and it gets a bit stuck to the mat underneath. I think you can avoid it a little by moving the felt around as you go but it is going to happen because you are pushing the fibres through each other with the needles. I have found smoothing holes on the top by rubbing it with my finger and then trimming the fluffiness on the back to reduce bulk has helped to make a neater finish.
So that was the end of the needle felting bit! It is probably the easiest craft you can do and takes no time at all. So satisfying!
Then to jazz it up a bit I embroidered a bunch of different stitches on the front piece and used a blanket stitch to join the two pieces together. I stuffed it with some jersey scraps and then blanket stitched the bottom closed. I attached a piece of embroidery floss to the top to use to hang it, and voila! A super cute ornament to give as a gift or put on your tree.
Merry Christmas everyone!

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