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Vintage Vogue V9295 with Burnout Designer Silk

I am back again with another make from Minerva and this one is special to me! I used Vintage Vogue Pattern V9295! I could not believe that this fabric was not already in my wardrobe because it is so beautiful. This burnout Designer Silk Fabric is just gorgeous! I even had a wonderful time sewing it if you can imagine! There are several tips and tricks I used for this pattern! Time to get started!
Washing your fabric: I think you have all heard this before, but I don’t make anything if I can’t wash it! Unless it is a coat, I usually give it a good hand wash and hang it dry or lay it flat to dry and this fabric worked beautifully with this! There was no damage done at all and I feel confident that I can hand wash it again! 
Pattern: Why did I decide to tackle my first vintage pattern and work with burnout silk chiffon all in one go???? Because that is what I do. I make things more difficult, but it is just that much more amazing! There is so much to say about this process so I will try to compress it as much as I can! The pattern is a Vintage Vogue pattern V9295. I went for the short sleeve version and it did not disappoint! 
Gathering materials: when you look at the back of the package to gather your notions, this pattern can be a little overwhelming! I will try to break it down for you the best I can! I was able to get everything I needed from my local craft store! Keep in mind I made version A. 
NOTIONS: A, B: One 14" (36 cm) Zipper or Six Snaps, Two Hooks & Eyes, 2 3/4 yds. (2.6 m) Seam Binding, 1/2 yd. (0.5 m) of 1/2" (1.3 cm) Single Fold Bias Tape. A: Two Eyelets. 
I did not ever use seam binding or single fold bias tape. The seam binding is for the hem and I just finished the bottom edge and folded it up for the hem. I would have used lace hem tape if I had some, however, all I had was seam binding ribbon that would have been too much of a contrast underneath my dress and would have shown through this sheer fabric. I opted to do the least noticeable hem possible! Even my serger thread was a little bright but it is difficult to see this through the fabric at the hem. I could have done a rolled hem or if I wanted to be a super over achiever I could have finished the edge of the hem with the exact color thread as the dress using the overlock function on my sewing machine. Many of you may have this and the symbol for this on my machine is one of these or similar. 
So to summarize, I only used the 14 inch (36cm) zipper, one hook and eye pair, and two eyelets out of that long list! The eyelets were 8mm and I bought the tool in the store to insert them and used a youtube video to learn how. There are thousands of youtube videos out there about this and it is easy to find! You just need a hammer and the tool! It's very easy after you practice just once!
Next, you need to tackle the fabric requirements and these are their recommendations: 
Sheer Cottons, Lace, Crepe De Chine, Burnout Velvet, Rayon Challis. 
Sleevehead A, B: Taffeta. 
Belt Interfacing: Muslin. 
Sew-in interfacing
Contrast Fabric for the belt and the sleeve and neckline trim
This is listed over the back of the pattern envelope and I gathered it in one spot for you. The amounts you need are on the envelope. 
So let’s breakdown these requirements. I have this wonderful silk chiffon to work with and it worked very well! 
For the taffeta requirement, I just used a random color at my local store of some polyester stiff taffeta. It was not called taffeta at my store but look for something that is usually polyester, has a tight weave, is crisp, has good body, and has some sheen. You only need a very small amount and you will be making the sleevehead out of it! The sleeve head pattern piece is very simple and doesn’t take very long to make. I made a modification for this when constructing the pattern so I will explain this below!
Most everyone has muslin and this is a simple requirement. You can just use a cotton similar to that if you need, as long as it doesn’t show through your belt fabric! 
I did not have any sew-in interfacing so guess what, I used regular interfacing for the few pieces that needed this and just didn’t iron it on! HA! No big deal! I am glad I didn’t have to iron interfacing onto this fabric because it would not have looked good with this silk chiffon.
Speaking of fabric for your belt, you will need contrast fabric for the sleeve binding, neckline binding and the belt. I used some dark gray tencel twill that I had sitting around. You don’t need that much but you do need to cut the pieces on the bias so you will need to have enough for that.
Sewing machine needle: For delicate fabric such as this, I recommend a sharp needle of small caliber. I used a 70/10 sharp needle. It worked beautifully! The “sharp” term is describing the type of needle but of course it should also actually be sharp and not dull from too much use on other projects!
Marking the pattern: This fabric is very delicate so I started by using tailor’s tacks to mark all the large and small dots on the pattern. However, I got tired of this really quick and decided to use a water soluble marker after testing it on a scrap piece and some dressmaker’s tracing paper! You can also use tailor’s tacks!
Modifications and tips: I made several modifications as I went along while making this pattern! I will go through several below! I will also add any tips or helpful info I have on constructing the pattern!
Making the pleats: 
Alright, let’s talk about these pleats! First of all, marking the fabric, I used a tracing wheel and paper used for marking and tracing here. There are several different forms of this but it is typically dressmaker’s tracing paper. You can use anything to mark where the pleats go but it is important to mark where they end on the garment so they will all be in line. The key to making these pleats on thin, delicate fabric is to go SLOW! Use the proper needle as mentioned above. You may even want to put tissue paper or something you can rip off after sewing, under your stitching. You will be sewing such a small seam allowance at 1/8” and you will be starting at the very edge of the fabric. You can start a 1/2 inch in if you like and backstitch, but the machine will still fight you by eating your fabric if you go to quickly!
Again, use a small sharp needle for this type of project so that it pierces tightly woven fabric without drawing it into the machine and so that it makes an appropriate sized hole in the fabric for the stitch. I used a smaller stitch length at 2.5 mm. If you use a smaller stitch at the beginning you may not need to backstitch as you will be covering the very top with your bias binding and securing it. Double check your spacing even though you have markings on your fabric. These are very hard to unpick (ask me how I know haha) and you want to make sure the spacing is looking even. 
Sometimes when you sew these pleats you will grab a little more or a little less, as it is very hard to get an exact 1/8” seam allowance perfect every time. So DOUBLE CHECK your spacing!
Attaching the binding: 
When attaching the binding that you make out of contrast fabric to the garment, I decided to topstitch it down for the last step! The pattern tells you to slipstitch it. I sewed from the right side, making sure I was catching the folded over portion on the wrong side. I used pins for this and kept them perpendicular to my stitching line. I kept them in for the stitching and this worked out beautifully! It is wonderfully top-stitched!
The sleeve head:
The only modification I made was to fold the sleeve head in half on the fold line, right sides together and sew the edges closed except for a small hole in which to turn it right side out. After turning it, I stitched down the opening by folding the raw edges in and then gave it a good press. Then I sewed the basting stitch and gathered and proceeded with inserting the sleeve head. This eliminated any raw edges inside the dress! I wasn’t about to have a raw serged edge showing when the rest of the dress had only French seams! I’ll get to that later!
Back facing:
I used the stitching used to attach the sew-in interfacing (aka regular fusible interfacing or you could use muslin) to guide me in turning the raw edges under all the way around this back facing.
Of note, I decided to add the markings on the back facing pattern piece to my interfacing so I could know where to cut next.
When I finished attaching the facing to the back bodice piece, I noticed the white interfacing was extremely noticeable through my sheer fabric. I decided to turn under the sides to cover the white as shown here. I stitched this down. 
Now you can see how it looks from the right side
Zipper insertion: 
When it came to attaching the lapped zipper, I felt the instructions were actually very good even though I was scared to do this! I attached fusible 3/8 inch bias tape on the fabric before attaching the zipper to reinforce this area. The pattern does not instruct you to do this, but I wanted to reinforce it and add extra protection for fraying. 
Extra seam finishing:
I should have finished these edges with my serger but I didn’t want these edges to be super bright with serger thread, and I did not have any matching thread for my serger. Again, I could have used my machine with its overlock feature or done a really small finishing stitch on my serger such as a narrow 3 needle overlock stitch or almost a rolled hem. I just decided to use the bias binding and attach the zipper and use a fraying solution to prevent fraying. In this picture below. I also used it on the section where the front bodice attaches to the back bodice. This was helpful, as this seam would have been rather bulky to French seam. And I didn’t want to add a serger stitch here either! 
Here is the finished zipper on the dress! I love how it is hidden behind a fold of fabric! Love a good lapped zipper!
French all the seams:
So did I mention French seams above? I sure did! The entire garment was sewn using French seams! The total seam allowance is 5/8 inch or 1.5 cm, so I used a 1/4 inch or 5-6mm seam when sewing the wrong sides together and then a 3/8 inch or 1 cm seam when sewing the right sides together to cover the previous seam! After sewing the first seam with fabric wrong sides together, I pressed the seam and the garment right sides together well, to prep it for sewing the next seam! French seams worked wonders for this dress! I used them for all skirt seams, side seams, sleeve seams etc! The only time I did not use this is when I attached the front bodice to the back bodice at the top (not the side seams), when attaching the zipper (but I used them above and below the zipper), when attaching the bodice to the skirt, and when attaching the sleeve head. Otherwise, I used this for all the rest! French seams are not difficult and it is easy to find tutorials online!
When my Kylie and the Machine Tags come in, I am going to put the “French all the seams tag” in this dress! I have certainly earned it! I added my pearls with this dress and called it a day for styling! Giving it the true vintage look! 
Last, but not least, this dress is completely sheer so I ordered a jersey slip dress online and I wore this underneath! Phew! I hope you enjoyed this blog post and you can always contact me if you have any questions! Enjoy this vintage dress and please make one of your own! You can do it, and it is not THAT hard! Just takes time. Also, if you order this fabric, you will be so inspired, so have fun! Can’t wait to see what you all make! 
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Charleston Dress by Hey June Patterns

Hello,

Do you use the same pattern over and over again, or just once? I know there are so many new patterns I would like to try and my wishlist never stops growing but, some patterns need to be made more than once. That is the case with this pattern! The first time I used this pattern was three years ago (time does fly!) and I did wear it so much that a new one was needed.

The pattern is the Charleston Dress by Hey June Patterns. This pattern has so many options and is so versatile that you can obtain different looks for different occasions. Nonetheless, I really wanted a replacement for my old one so, I went with the same options.

I made a size XS based on my bust and waist measurements. I am between sizes for my hip measurements and as I had done previously, I went with the XS because the fabric is knit. However, looking at the pictures now, I think I should have graded to a bigger size at the hips. I believe this is due to the nature of the fabric. This pattern recommends (and I agree with it) a stable knit and it might be the case this is more stable than the one I used previously. I don’t think it looks bad anyway and it sure is comfortable to wear, nonetheless it is something to keep in mind.

This pattern has two skirt options and I opted for view A, an a-line skirt with pockets and front pleats, as it’s more casual and perfect for everyday use. For the sleeves, there are seven options available however, I have a preference for ruffles so, ruffles it was.

The only change I made to the pattern was to omit the zipper in the back. To be honest, the zipper is only for decorative purpose and I wanted something simpler. I just took the seam allowance from the back bodice and back skirt pattern pieces and cut the fabric on the fold. I made no changes to the neckband pattern piece, just attached as per the instructions with exception of the centre back, evidently.

As mentioned before, the pattern recommends heavier, stable knits such as ponte so, when I saw this Ponte Roma Knit Fabric my thoughts went straight to this pattern. Bonus points for having mainly viscose (70%) in its compositions! I had some hard time choosing the colour I must say, as there are quite a few available and so many looked lovely but, ended up choosing Jeans Blue.

The fabric worked wonderfully for this project. It is soft and comfortable to wear, with a nice touch but still is stable as recommended. As you can see, the top stitched pocket seams aren’t wonky and lay nicely. However, I also used a walking foot, as per instructions.

I am honestly pleased with how this dress turned out and I am sure I will wear it quite a lot as it makes me feel well dressed yet very comfortable.

Many thanks Minerva for the lovely fabric for this project and to you for reading.

Happy sewing,

Maria x

A Pinch of Sewing

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Seamwork Bobby Dress in Rose Pink Jersey

Hello friends! It has been too long, but I’m happy to be back on the blog with another review for you!! I was thrilled to receive this gorgeous rose pink Jersey Fabric from Minerva because I knew I wanted to make something comfy to live in while it’s warm, and this dress is PERFECT for that! I used Seamwork Magazine’s Bobby dress pattern, with the only alteration being that I made the pockets a little deeper. I find that most pocket patterns are not deep enough for my liking. Other than that, it was perfect as is. I did run into a few snags along the way, however, which I will tell you all about so that you hopefully do not make the same mistakes as me!

I should know better, being that I have been sewing for quite some time, but I still get lazy sometimes and try to just work with what I have on hand rather than getting the proper tools. I know that usually never goes well, and yet still sometimes I think I can get away with it! But having the right tools and using the proper techniques for the specific fabric you’re working with makes ALL the difference. 

This jersey is a medium weight with a beautiful drape, and it holds its structure pretty well. It isn’t a slinky jersey. So what might work better on something more lightweight and with more stretch doesn’t necessarily work as well with this. 

The pattern instructions for the Bobby dress say to stabilize the neckline with stay tape or clear elastic, and since I had some clear elastic on hand, I went with that. I started out stitching the whole thing on my serger. I got the bodice all together and turned it right side out and it was a NIGHTMARE! The neckline had stretched completely out of shape and was wavy and hideous!

Fortunately I was able to squeeze another set of bodice pieces out of my fabric and start all over again. This time I decided to sew on my regular sewing machine using a zig zag stitch instead of using my serger because I thought I could get more precision in my stitches that way and less stretching on my fabric (I also used my walking foot on my machine- it is INVALUABLE).

However, I only had ONE stretch needle on hand- the last one left in a multipack, so I just stuck it on my machine and started stitching. I also used the only light pink thread that I had on hand, which was a silk finish cotton. I was having SO MANY problems- skipped stitches like crazy, thread kept snapping and so I would have to re-thread over and over, until finally I realized - DUH - all I needed to do was go out and buy the right materials. 

Pictured here on the left is the multipack of ballpoint needles that I had originally, with only one needle left in it, and I didn’t even bother to check what size it was before I started sewing (it was a 65/9- not right for this fabric). Pictured on the right is the pack of Schmetz stretch 75/11 needles that I went out and purchased. I also bought a spool of Mettler metrosene polyester thread in light pink, and a package of Dritz Stay Tape.

Guys, this made ALL THE DIFFERENCE. My new bodice came together PERFECTLY after making those changes. Not a single skipped stitch, no more snapping thread, and no more stretched out or wavy neckline after stabilizing with the stay tape. Funny how doing things the right way produces beautiful results. ;)

After that whole fiasco, the rest of the dress came together beautifully. This fabric has such a nice weight to it that it creates a beautiful silhouette, and works well with the inseam pockets, and I also don’t have to worry about it being see-through, which is really nice!

This dress is perfect for lounging around, strolling the boardwalk or your favorite gardens, perusing your local farmer’s market or flea market - really just about anything! It is incredibly comfortable and has this effortlessly casual chic look to it, which makes it a great wardrobe staple.

I highly recommend snatching up some of this beautiful jersey and making yourself a Seamwork Bobby dress as well! I promise you won’t regret it!

Happy Sewing,

@birdandbobbin

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Sequins and Sparkles

Anyone who has children between the ages of 2 and 12 in their house right now know how enticing flip sequins are. They are EVERYWHERE these days. And I do not know about your children, but mine? They will wear ANYTHING if it has flip sequins on it. Anything. So when I saw Minerva’s lovely selection of them, I knew I had to brave it.

I had the perfect pattern in mind, the Dia Sweater and Tunic from Misusu Patterns. There’s amazing piecing on the front to create a diamond, and a sparkly diamond? Perfect. Plus it only used a small bit of sequins so I could try it out without going overboard.

Did I mention I’ve never sewn with sequins before? Yeah, I’ve read too many horror stories about broken needles. I was fairly nervous going in. Dia allowed me to try, but not get too crazy.

Since I was using as little sequins as possible, I had to have the perfect coordinating fabric. This sparkly French Terry Fabric is amazing. The inside is soft, fleecy, oatmeal colored. The outside has silver sparkles on an old rose, almost mauve, pink. The sparkles are not scratchy in the least (a huge requirement from my little model) and the inside is incredibly fluffy and soft anyway. Pink with silver sparkles, perfect match for pink and silver Flip Sequin Fabric.

I used an old blade on my rotary for cutting the sequin fabric as I did not want to dull my fabric cutting blade. When I sewed, I used a titanium needle in my sewing machine. Then I clipped the seam allowance by half (not with my fabric shears, but craft scissors) before sending it through the serger as I wanted to serge the edges, but did not want my serger blades to have to cut it either.

My sewing room looks like a party now, with sparkly sequin bits everywhere.

I also topstitched the seam allowance down so that the sequins would not rub against my precious princess’ skin. BUT I did not even think about how scratchy the back of the actual sequins are! She tried it on, and looked at me sadly….”Mommy, I really love it. Really I do. But it is so scratchy. I will still wear it….but I wish it wasn’t scratchy….” So I took some scrap lightweight jersey, used heat and bond to fuse it to the back of the sequins, and went over the topstitching once more. Lesson learned, I will back that before the final step in the future.

I chose the high low tunic, with long sleeves, based purely on my daughter’s preferences. She loves tunic length sweaters with leggings. I had to make her some leggings as well, as none of hers seemed right for this….I went with faux leather. Because if you’re going to wear flip sequins and sparkles, you need some leather motos as well, right?

Now I’m much braver….maybe I’ll be adding flip sequins everywhere…..well, at least until the next trend hits….

Thanks for reading,

Amanda @derivingmommyhood

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Baby Sleep Sack

This is my first post for Minerva Maker Team – I am Laura and have been sewing obsessively now for 5 years. Most of my makes are for myself (not much selfless sewing goes on here) but now and again I will make something for my almost two year old daughter. You can see what else I have been sewing @madebylauraterkuile

I was excited to get sewing so I chose this lovely feather print Jersey Fabric with the idea of making something for my 2 year old. Only when it arrived did I decide what that would be.

A little more about the fabric… It has a really good four way stretch to it, which I find a rare thing when buying jersey. The recovery is also impressive and perfect for kids clothes that get washed and worn a lot.

With the weather warming up a bit in the UK I needed a lighter sleep sack to replace the heavy weight ones we use in the winter. I also wanted to challenge myself with inserting a zip in jersey fabric, which I try to avoid at all costs. But it was time to face my fears.

I traced her current sleeping sack, and added some length at the bottom for her growing legs to kick about. I found a zip in my stash that was just about long enough. I also had a white double gauze fabric left over from a previous project, which is a perfect material for lining the sleeping sack and gives a nice breathable layer of warmth.

The zip was the first thing I sewed. I used some soluble sewing tape to try keeping it in place. I highly suggest using this when inserting zips if you are scared of them like I am.  It was made extra difficult, as I was sewing with jersey so there was a bit of puckering of the fabric but I am happy with the result.

From then on it was simply sewing it together using my over locker which was a quick job and then repeating the same for the lining.

I then inserted the lining into the main sack and attached it to the zip as well – this I did by hand using a slip stitch. And sewed up the armholes.

For a project that was conceived in the morning when the postman delivered this lovely jersey to being sewed up ready for bedtime I am very happy with how it turned out. And the fabric is perfect for the warmer summer months. I have a little left over so no doubt that will be turned into a kids dress or leggings.

Thanks for reading,

Laura

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The Pietra Pants

Hi my name is Faye, I blog at thefairstitch.com and I share the behind the seams ( ;-) ) of my projects on my Instagram @thefairstitch. I’m so happy to be here with the Minerva Maker Team and I’m here with my very first project; the Pietra Pants. So let’s talk about this make, shall we?

The Fabric

This Beautiful Fabric is 100% cotton medium weight shirting fabric from Lady McElroy. As the name suggests, it is ideal for making shirts. However, because it is medium weight with little drape and it actually feels quite sturdy, I think it is substantial enough for a pair of trousers or skirt. Although I must say, it can be just a tad transparent, but not overly so that you’d need to completely line your garment. If I put it against colourful fabric, it’d show a little.

The stripes on the fabric are dark green colour, it’s so beautiful against the camel colour. It is also easy to wash, iron (hot with generous steam), cut, and sew. The stripes are exactly 1 inch apart and they run on the grain line. The good news is, the stripes (green thread) are woven into the fabric – not printed. It means that to find your grain line when cutting, just choose a stripe. In fact that’s what I did.

The thread I used for this fabric is Gütermann Sew All in colour 169, perfect match.

The Pattern

The pattern is relatively new, Closet Case Patterns launched this as a part of their Rome collection in June this year. I love the whole collection, but the Pietra is the one that stole my heart and messed up my sewing plans haha.

The kind people at Minerva sent me this amazing fabric right around the time CCP launched the Rome collection. To be honest, my original plan was to make another Kalle shirtdress by CCP – yes, there’s a theme here, I love Closet Case Patterns :-D But sometimes plans change, right? And so, my Kalle turned into this amazing (if I may say so myself) pair of Pietra Pants (or trousers for those us living here in the UK).

The Pietra came in three views; wide legged, tapered, and shorts. For the tapered and wide legged options you can choose to have them cropped or full hem. I went with cropped tapered option. I drew my inspiration from Audrey Hepburn’s signature style (cropped trousers and flats), also from one of Mrs. Maisel’s looks where she was doing her routine (stand-up) with similar outfit.

As the chillier autumn days getting nearer, I think these trousers paired with cropped jumper/cardi would be lovely, don’t you think?

The Sewing Experience

I made mine in straight size 10, I am 30” on the waist, 39” on the hips and 5’2.5” tall. On the pattern, size 10 is for those with 29.5” waist, but because these trousers have more give in the back thanks to the elastic, I just went with it. Although if I particularly wanted to, I could’ve sewn my side seams at ½” SA instead of the 5/8” called by the pattern, that would make up for the difference.

There are a few changes to the pattern that I did:

  1. I shortened the rise by 2cm. These trousers have very high rise, and on my toile the crotch was too low and if I were to pull the trousers up they’d go way too high over my natural waist.

  2. I moved up the knee notches by 4cm. One of the things I love about CCP patterns is that you get knee notches on the pattern.

  3. I shortened the legs by 2.5cm.

  4. I cut the back waistband across the grain to have more interesting horizontal lines there. I think it looks better that way, especially because I think it’d be next to impossible to make the lines of the waistband and legs to meet and line perfectly as there are gathers. It’d look a bit messier than I’d have liked. I wasn’t worried about doing this as the fabric doesn’t have any stretch at all on both directions.

I love the details in this make – very chic. The elastic back makes this trousers very comfortable, but the fabric choice and the flat front make them more of smart trousers. There’s no zipper or buttons involved here, very beginner friendly I think. It took me a day to sew the trousers, even with my fussing over the stripes.

The pattern itself is amazing. It is well drafted, the instructions are clear, and there are handy tips, trick, and techniques in there too to help us sewists along the process. As with sewing any garment, making a toile or wearable toile first is highly recommended. Also, I must say, the construction of the back waistband is so clever!

I can say I am happy with how this garment turned out, though I am sure there’s still a tweak or two I can do regarding the fit for the next version.

A little note on cutting the fabric

As you can see, I put a little extra effort to match the stripes, especially around the crotch and pockets. I didn’t do the front princess seams and side seams though, not sure if they’re even possible? As this was my first stripe project, I decided to go easy on myself and just go with the easier bits.

As I said, I used the stripe as my grain line. To help the process, I elongated the grain line on the pattern to the edges of each pattern pieces as pictured. And I just made sure they’re following the stripe on the fabric – fortunately my paper isn’t too opaque (I just printed on regular 80gsm copy paper) so I could just about see the stripes through the paper. Also, I cut the fabric one layer at a time to make sure that when I had to cut multiple pieces they were all identical. The fabric itself doesn’t have a right or wrong side, but I still treated it as if it did, for consistency and just in case… you know? When cutting (as I was dealing with the elongated grain line on the pattern paper), to avoid flipping the paper I flipped the fabric instead. So one set I cut with right side facing up, and the other set I cut with wrong side facing up.

So, I hope this post is helpful to you if you’re thinking about making the Pietra and using this fabric. Thank you so much for reading, and thank you again Minerva for letting me play with this amazing fabric.

Faye @thefairstitch

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Collars, Buttonholes & Waistband Casings...Oh My!

I know that it is a few months since the Me Made May challenge but I feel like I took quite a lot away from my first time participating in it.  It really made me think about what type of garments I would like to see in my wardrobe and also got me thinking about the garments I would like to wear moving forward.  In my wardrobe, I have a really beautiful RTW midi shirt dress that has a tie waist belt.  It’s one of those dresses that just feels great once on and it’s a real confidence boosting outfit.  Due to me loving that style so much, I set out trying to find a pattern similar to it so it could possibly turn into one of my ‘Tried & Tested’ patterns.

I came across the Named Clothing Reeta Midi shirt dress a little while ago and loved the design of this.  I bought the pattern and it remained unopened for quite a while as I was a little scared of it.  I mean it has a collar, button holes, a lined yoke and a waistband casing! Well, I needn’t have bothered about worrying as I enjoyed making this so much!  

The pattern suggests using a light-medium fabric with drape so when I saw this beautiful Lady McElroy Cotton Lawn I thought that it would look gorgeous as a midi dress.  Especially with the large leaf print design.  I fell right between a size 12 & 14 for this pattern but decided to go with the 14.  I’m always a little cautious when it comes to anything with buttons across the bust as I don’t want there to be any pulling.  I shortened the bodice by 1 inch and also took 2 inches off the length of the skirt.  In the end, this made the dress slightly longer than a true midi but I actually feel like this length suits me a little better.  And, I love the side splits up to the knee! 

The actual sewing of the dress did not take as long as I thought it would and it’s nice to see the finished details, like the crisp collar and lined yoke. I liked that each instruction was clear and the construction is broken down into smaller steps, almost forcing you to take it slower. Sometimes, I think I need a project like this. It allows me to slow down and really appreciate the construction.The only thing that I need to change is the cord that I chose. Even though this one looks nice, it’s actually quite stiff, meaning that it’s hard to gather the waistband for timing. That will be an easy change though…something that I could even make interchangeable if I pick up a few different cord styles.

This dress is perfect and is exactly what I had hoped for. It works so well in this cotton lawn! I think I may also try to make another in a rayon too. I feel like I’ll get quite a lot of wear out of this as it lends itself quite well to all seasons depending on I style it!  

Thanks for reading,

Natalie @threadsnbobbins

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Perfect Dungarees in Lady McElroy Stretch Barkweave Denim

Hi everyone! My name is Marta and I’m from Valencia, Spain. I share my makes on my instagram @cosmia. I’m so happy to be writing my first post for the Minerva blog. Today I’ll be sharing the dungarees I made using the Lady McElroy Stretch Barkwave Denim Fabric and these Hemline Bib & Brace Fasteners in silver. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of this denim when I received it, it feels sturdy and is heavier than other stretch denims I’ve used. The content is 98% cotton and 2% spandex, so it has some stretch but not a lot. The colour is a beautiful indigo and the fabric has some cross weave pattern on it which I found beautiful, and elevates it from the usual denim weave. This fabric is perfect for garments that need some structure but also some stretch for comfort, such as dungarees, rigid style jeans or denim jackets. I wanted to use it to sew a pair of dungarees that was flattering and comfortable, but not skin-tight, so it was perfect. 
I decided to use the McCall’s Pattern M7547.
I have had this pattern on my to-make list for a year, but I hadn’t found the perfect fabric for it until now. I really love the high waist on this design. I read some pattern reviews before deciding what size to cut. According to other people who have made it, this pattern is quite true to size and doesn’t have the excessive ease that other big 4 patterns have. Based on that and the finished garment measurements (which are printed on the pattern pieces), I decided to cut the size 14 which matched my waist and hip body measurements. That would give me a little positive ease to move comfortably and layer it.
I would say this is not a complicated project to sew, but you need to take it slowly, set some time aside and be ready to do a lot of basting and unpicking until you get the fit you’re after. I chose to sew view D with the skinny trouser pattern pieces from B. In the technical drawing, the legs of view B seem to be very skinny fitting, but in reality they are more of a straight leg and quite roomy. I basted the legs together and they looked really big on me, so I had to take them in. I did some basting and trying-on, and in the end I decided to remove 1 cm from both the outside leg seam and 1 cm from the inner leg seam, slowly grading to nothing at the crotch seam. Because of this, I had to unpick the front pockets which I had sewn on one of the first steps, and move them a bit closer to the center front so they wouldn’t be caught on the side seam or the zipper. Doing this narrowed the trouser top circumference by 4cm, so I didn’t have to do any easing to fit the trousers onto the waistband as instructed. Even though I had to take them in, I wouldn’t necessary say I would size down next time, because that would make the waistband closer fitting and I like a little more ease on my waistbands. Also, the fit of these trousers depends a lot on the stretch of the fabric you use, so it's better for it to be too big than too small!
I found a drafting error on the back bib piece for size 14: it is too wide at the top, so the notches don’t match. When you sew the straps on, you are left with extra fabric between the straps or at either side, which doesn’t look as good as the example on the technical drawing, where the back bib is the exact same size as the straps. It is easy to fix though, I only had to lay the strap pattern piece on top of the back bib and change it accordingly, always taking into account the seam allowances. I also had to adjust the triangular piece that is used as a facing.
Other than that, I also found the lapped zipper instructions difficult to follow. I had never sewn a lapped zipper before, and tried to follow the method outlined in the instructions, but the finish was not neat enough. I decided to look for tutorials online and found this one from the Closet Case Patterns blog, which was very helpful and I had a great result on the first try - just keep in mind the zipper on M7547 is on the opposite side as the Jenny overalls, so when following for this pattern you must sew a mirror image of the one pictured. After reading the tutorial, I also decided to draft a simple fly shield piece to prevent the zipper to be touching my blouse or skin directly. This shield was sewn on the back trouser seam allowance, and I cut it so it would be the same size as the waistband flap that closes the side seam, leaving a very clean finish. I am very proud of this zipper!Overall, I am very happy with my finished dungarees, they are exactly what I was after. Even if I hit some roadblocks with the pattern, I would still recommend it to other people. The finished garment is cleanly finished, very comfortable without being oversize and fits great with my lifestyle. The fabric was amazing to work with, and the quality is great too. I can see myself layering these dungarees with a t-shirt in the warmer months, or with a sweater during autumn and winter.
Thank you for reading, see you next time!
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Chalk & Notch Chiffon Orchid Midi

Hi, this is Karina from the YouTube channel Lifting Pins and Needles (same handle on Instagram) and I’m back with a dress I LOVE.  If someone had asked me to make a style like this for myself a few months ago, I would’ve had to say no.  You see, I’ve had a distinct fashion style that has changed minimally over the last couple of decades. Describing my style is difficult but in a few words: classic, tailored, sleeveless and always above the knee. The dresses I`ve sewn for myself since I have been a teenager have all had a fitted bodice, with either a slim skirt silhouette or maximum a half circle…. all above the knee…never a gathered waist.

The dress I chose to sew is the total opposite! The Orchid Midi dress from Chalk & Notch has a relaxed fit wrapped bodice attached to a relaxed fitting skirt with a center seam and slit.  The waist is brought in via a casing with elastic and fabric ties.  There is a short butterfly option (View A), a long sleeve option (View B) and two bodice options for cup sizes: A/B and C/D bodice.  I chose View B and the C/D cup size bodice.

So up to now, this style is totally new for me.  To make the “stepping out of the comfort zone” even more extreme, lets just add a MIDI length skirt to the mix.  I’ve decided this year, after turning the big 4.0 that life is too short to not experiment with new styles. This is the year I’m making all.the.things.

To ease myself into this style, I decided that the chance of me loving this new style had everything to do with the fabric choice.  Chiffon has been a long time favorite of mine and I am comfortable with all the precautions one requires with the cutting and handling. My previous post for the Minerva makers blog discussed many of these topics, as the project was also made with chiffon.

Chiffon is floaty and airy, thus making a voluminous design less so.  This is my goal.  Although the dress has many pattern pieces and lots of seams, I was ready for this challenge.  I chose this amazing Crinkle chiffon Fabric in brown, beige, and black….a type of “Zebra Print” maybe? I love these tones of colors together and the print.

The midi length of the skirt is a feature I want to manipulate to have it still be midi, but not so much. I want to modify the front skirt pieces to have 2 pieces overlap each other into a tulip shape, making the front have a high-low effect.  Thus, bringing this new length, a little bit closer to my style.

Above you can see that I have eliminated the seam allowance in the center of the front skirt pattern piece and created a full extended piece for the front.  I drew a point from the waistline at the side seam at 10”.  In the center of the skirt I measured from the waistline 20 ½” and drew another point.  I then free hand drew the curve to have a new pattern piece that will be cut twice mirrored.  These will overlap each other creating the tulip shape, as you can see below in yellow paper.

Here you can see the completed skirt with the tulip shape.  Due to the curves on this hem, I bias bound it with satin bias tape for a nicer finish and to add some weight to the hem.

Instead of the casing at the waist and ties.  I drafted a rectangle 42cm long by 3.5cm wide, interfaced it, sewed it with a ¼” seam allowance, turned it right side out with a safety pin and cut 6 pieces 7 cm long. 

The loops are folded onto themselves and sewn into the waist seam to provide more stability.  I wouldn’t want to sew them on flat like it’s done-on trousers or skirts. This would stress the delicate fabric and I’m sure there would be a hole there in the future.  Totally preventable.

Voila.  A beautiful dress that goes against all my previous self-imposed “rules” that I absolutely LOVE.  Midi lengths are a style I need to explore more, always in floaty semi sheer fabrics like this chiffon.  Although to be honest, this is a cheater’s midi length, because on the front it is still above the knee (forgive me a little chuckle).  I paired the dress with some heels and the planned belt. 

Above you could think that the dress was a midi length with the side and back views, but below, you can see that, it’s also above the knee. The best of both worlds. Just look at the movement of the fabric. It’s amazing.

The little belt loops worked a charm and my belt is reversible… I can use it black or brown.  Perfect if I switch my shoes to brown.

Because this is also a winter”ish dress for me, I also have it shown with a black sleeveless Stacie Jean Jacket (StyleArc) and some boots.

Until next time friends!

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Cashmerette Holyoke Viscose Dress

Hello again! It's me; Claire from Penguin and Pear. You may remember me from my spotty sateen Kimberly dress review. Well, today I am back with another review, this time I have made the Cashmerette Holyoke dress in the gorgeous gorgeous GORGEOUS poppy Viscose Fabric kindly sent to me from Minerva!

When I saw this fabric in the list sent to us, I was immediately drawn to it due to the bright red poppies on a black background, but I have to say; pictures do not do it justice. In the flesh, so to speak, it is stunning, and I certainly feel spesh in it!

Initially I wasn't sure what to make with it. So I showed the fabric on my vlog and asked my subscribers to help me to decide! Between palazzo pants and the Holyoke dress by Cashmerette (which was only just released). Everyone, and I mean 100%, voted the dress, so the dress it was to be! Watch that video if you wish to see the fabric on screen.

I hadn't made the Holyoke before, as it was a brand new release so wanted to make it up in a toile. But before I did that I ordered the pattern on A0 paper and then traced the pieces out. Right off the bat, I decided to lengthen the bodice pieces, they hardly looked long enough to cover my essentials, so I added 2 inches. Its not unusual for me to have to lengthen a bodice. The dress is naturally maxi length so I shortened it to knee length. Everything else was traced as is for my size, which was 22 in the bodice, grading out to a 26 in the waist.

I had it in my mind to make a wearable toile and if attempting this dress I would recommend you also do this, as in the end I can't really wear the toile and you'll see why in a momento.

Previously I'd made a similar dress, the Jessica Dress by Mimi G, so thinking I know it all, I whizzed up my toile without looking at the instructions. As a result, I ended up having to botch some areas as the construction of the two dresses are very different - the first lesson from the toile learned, follow the instructions!

The dress went together well and in the end bodging the toile didnt massively hurt it. The dress fitted really well at the waist, and I had lowered it to the right place, but the shape of the bodice was off somewhat. I felt the straps of the top were in the right place, but I had a lot of space above the boobage and the neckline was really bagging.

So I took the dress off and compared the outfit with the pattern pieces. Fortunately the pattern pieces were princess seams which is so much easier to change up. To remove the gape in the neckline I slashed from the neckline edge, down to between the two notches on the princess seam and closed the neckline by 1 inch (having a total loss of 2 inches on both sides). Then to reduce the room above the breasts I sliced that same piece front further up the neckline to 2 inches below the bottom notch on the princess seam, and brought this in by half an inch. then on the bodice side front, which I cut in a C/D cup, I made the curve of the princess seam less dramatic, and then rounded off, bringing the curve in another half an inch - this means I lose 1 inch on the area above the bust.

I then had to also alter the facing piece for the front by reducing it in the same way. I was not sure I'd done it right but it worked a treat!

Once this was done it was time to move on to this beautiful fabric - it is viscose so has lots of drape which some can find difficult to manage but I made sure to wash it and iron it and then use lots and lots of pins during the cutting out section.

When using my fashion fabric I decided to follow the instructions, as there are some very specific techniques. The instructions are mostly straight forward but when they have you attach the front to the back via straps, I found it very confusing. Anyway, I did it, trimmed the seams and understitched - then I realised I have the two front pieces on the wrong way. I was also working against the clock at this point! I was in total panic that I'd ruined this gorgeous fabric. I mean, its delicate and I've trimmed the seams and understitched, how was I going to take that apart and reattach? I needed a break to think!!

During my break I had a brain wave, that would have literally been immediately obvious to everyone else, and that was to just seam rip the straps, rather than the whole bodice pieces. So later I got on and did that, mostly without trouble although one piece was being bothersome and reattached - I attached it wrong AGAIN but luckily this time I'd done a tacking stitch. I eventually got them on right and the project was SAVED!

I decided to edge the facings with bias binding and had a lovely baby pink that I think complements the project well. I messed up one of the bias binding edges, ripped and redid but it looked bad. I was tempted to just leave it as I was in a rush (after all it is on the inside) but decided to re-cut the facing piece again, and I am glad I did as it looks much better.

There is a bit of hand stitching to be done on this project, which technically you don't HAVE to do but I think makes it look better. So I stitched down the inside of the waistband, and later the hem.

On this dress there is a button band down the centre front, and what I like about this pattern is you can have it with real buttons (or snaps) or as a faux placket. When I'd done the plackets, one side at the top was longer than the other, so had no other option than to stretch them together before sewing the buttons on. It does have a bit of bagginess due to this but you cant really tell when wearing it. I ordered buttons online for this project and think I could do with a few more. To put the buttons on I used my Simflex ruler, which is amazing for distancing the buttons equally and then used a function on my sewing machine for sewing on buttons - it worked beautifully.

Then I let the dress hang overnight, this allows any stretching of the hem to happen and then I trimmed and hemmed.

All that was left to do was to give it a good press and try it on! I love it! The fit is so good now. It is a big project and by the end of it I was slightly loosing the will to live but all is well that ends well!

It's so light and flowy and I feel so glam - definitely worth all the work that went into it!

Do let me know if you have any questions about this fabric or making the pattern, as I am only too pleased to help. Please send me a DM on Instagram @penguinandpear.

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