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Guest Post: Fitting a Princess Seam Bodice Dress – Part Two

Hello again, it’s Wendy here with part two of my tutorial on how to fit a princess seam bodice. 

In case you missed part one, I am a secondary school textiles teacher in East London and also a sewing blogger at

As part of my job I have taught hundreds of children, and a few adults, how to design and make clothes. In this tutorial I am going to share with you how to get a perfect fit on a princess seamed bodice dress.

The Sewing Pattern I have used is New Look 6341, available from Minerva Crafts, and I am going to be making view A. 

If you don't fancy this one then there are lots of other princess seam patterns available and they all follow the same fitting procedure.

In part one of this tutorial, I talk about bust adjustments and tissue fitting. Go back and have a read of that, if you have not already. But this week let’s move on to fitting the toile and making the dress.

Time to Toile

A toile, also known as a muslin in the US, is a prototype of your garment, usually made in a cheap fabric, to get the fit right. I'm using Specialist Muslin Fabric available from Minerva Crafts at £2.99 a metre.

Using your newly adjusted tissue pattern that you made in part one, you now need to cut out all of the bodice pieces from your muslin fabric. We will be making the whole bodice this time rather than half of it, so make sure you cut out all of the bodice pieces.

Don’t worry about facings for now though. Following the instructions in your pattern, sew up the bodice leaving the back seam open. It may seem like extra work that you don’t really need, but it is so important to stay-stitch the curved pieces of the bodice sections. This will prevent your fabric from stretching out of shape. You’re also going to want to clip those curves to make it easier to sew.

Match up your notches on the pattern pieces and really take your time pinning so the edges of the bodice pieces are perfectly lined up. Take your time sewing the princess seams; making sure your fabric is not bunching underneath. This is such a common problem with my students and usually they just need to slow down.

Remember to press your seams open when you are finished.

Once you are all sewn up and pressed, the next step is to try on the toile and check the fit. It is pretty hard to pin up the back seam of your bodice yourself so you have two options here. Either enlist a willing assistant to help pin you in or, my preferred method, quickly sew in a long zip (I use 16 inches) so you can easily get in and out of your bodice. Doing it yourself saves the frustration (and let’s face it, the heated arguments) that come from relying on another person who is not so great with pins!


As you have already done a tissue fit you may find that the toile fits you perfectly or, as in my case, you might find you have a couple of minor alterations to make.

There are various methods for checking the fit, and I am by no means an expert, but this is the method that works for me and my students.

Start at the shoulders and, armed with plenty of pins and a marker pen, work your way down the bodice making any necessary adjustments.

1. Check the shoulder width – you want the seam allowance edge of the bodice to sit at the edge of your shoulders.

2. Check the arm hole depth – 2.5cm below your arm pit is ideal.

3. How is the neck line sitting at the front and back – do you need take out any fabric?

4. Check all the seams, including the princess seams. Is the fabric smooth against the body?

5. Is there any extra fabric rippling at the base of your spine? You might need to do a sway back adjustment if there is, whereby you open the centre back seam and re-pin with a larger seam allowance so the fabric lies flat.

6. Check that you are happy with the length. You want your bodice to end at your natural waist.

If there are any adjustments, transfer them to your paper pattern – literally pinching out excess or inserting scraps of tissue. On my pattern I have decided that the neckline is sitting a little too high for me so I have cut a new lower neck that suits my figure better.

I would make another toile at this stage so you can be sure you have it fitting perfectly. I will warn you though, it can get a little addictive making toiles and adjusting the fit. The most I have ever made is five, but hopefully two will be more than enough!

Putting it all together

Happy with the fit? Congratulations! You now have a pattern for a princess seam bodice that fits you perfectly. You can now go ahead and cut into your fabric, knowing that this dress is going to look amazing.

For my dress I have used this beautiful red and white floral print cotton and linen blend Dressmaking Fabric from Minerva Crafts for just £5.99 a metre. I chose this because it is heavy enough to show off the fullness of the skirt and light enough to be breathable in warmer weather. I just love how bright and cheerful it is, it will be perfect for summer.

Before I sign off I am going to leave you with a few more points to remember when you are making up your final dress:-

  • Double check the waist measurement of the skirt and try it on with pins before you sew up the side seams, so you can adjust the fit if you need to.

  • If you have made any changes to the neck or shoulders on your bodice pattern, and you are not lining the bodice, you will also need to make changes to the neck facings.

  • Press all the seams as you go along and, ideally, use a pressing ham on those lovely curved princess seams.

  • Take your time and enjoy it!

That’s all from me. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Many thanks to Minerva Crafts for hosting me and do check out my blog for more of my makes and tutorials. 

Happy sewing!


Guest Post: Boxer Shorts Tutorial by Nicky Broom

A great little gift idea for a man or little boy - the Boxer Short!

Materials Needed

Simplicity Sewing Pattern 8180

1.20m Cotton Fabric for Men, 0.90 for Boys.  Max amount, less required for wider fabrics.

Matching Sewing Thread

19mm wide Elastic

The boxer shorts are made using 3 pattern pieces; front, back & waist elastic casing. Fold pre-washed fabric so it's double with selvage edges together, pin and cut required size.

Transfer markings onto fabric. On left front section mark stitching line with hand basting or using dressmakers carbon paper.

Stitch front to back at leg seam & repeat for other leg.

Finish seams as you go by overlooking, zigzag stitch or pinking shears. (I also finished centre seam edge before joining in next step)

With right sides together pin centre seam, matching inner leg seam & marking. Sew from back upper edge to large dot. Re-sew over the top to strengthen seam.

Baste from waist top edge to large dot along centre front line. Clip to seam line on right hand side seam allowance to allow fly extension to fold towards the Left front.

Press fly extension in place & baste across top edge.

From right side top stitch left front along marked stitching line. Remove basting.

Stitch side seams.

Taking the 2 casing pieces pin right sides together right side seam then left seam leaving an opening between the dots.

Press seams open & stitch seam allowance to casting to stop elastic getting stuck in them when being threaded through.

Fold casing in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Baste raw edges together.

With the gap in casing facing out, pin casing to rightside of shorts matching side seams & centres. Stitch in place.

Finish raw edges. Fold casing up with seam edge facing down. Press.

Cut elastic to waist measurement plus 2.5cm, thread through & secure with safety pin before trying on to fit. 

When adjusted, securely stitch ends of elastic overlapping.

Slip stitch opening.

Check fullness is even all the way around then topstitch through casing & elastic along side seams to prevent elastic from twisting.

To finish hem turn raw edge by 6mm, press then turn up a 2.5cm hem. Stitch & press

You now have your finished shorts :)

To read more from Nicky please head over to her blog SewandSnip!


#KnitPicksforEwe - Sirdar Wild

Wild from Sirdar looks like the name suggests. For me it is the most exciting textured yarn I have seen in some time. Take a look at the colours they are simply stunning. 
I class myself as a compulsive knitter and I love knitting in mainly DK and Aran yarns, working in textured, cabled and lace stitches. However I do like something 'easy' on the go. This I class as my 'watching TV' knitting - which is watching TV and occasionally glancing down at the knitting. Wild fits the bill perfectly and on running my fingers along the length of the yarn I know this will be a dream to knit. It is worked on 8mm needles so although a little thicker than chunky it doesn't exactly fit in the super chunky category. The range of Knitting Patterns for this yarn is pretty good, they include ladies and childrens designs plus accessories and even some designs for the home not forgetting the cuddly Husky toy (which is mine and Vicki's favourite!) 
Two patterns really appealed to me, 7970 which is a longline cardigan, either round neck or V neck, coming in sizes 24 to 46 chest or 7968 which is a kimono style wrapover cardigan with a belt, again in the same brilliant size range...
I eventually decided on 7970 for 3 reasons. First, I really love the straight style of this and may knit it a little longer. Second I have some fab buttons in mind and third I fancy knitting the little snood. This takes just one ball and incidentally the pattern comes on the back of the ball band. I think this will give an alternative look to this cardi.
I had no hesitation in choosing the colour, 400 which is aptly named Chinchilla.
I am a size 12 so have decided to knit the 36/38 which actually measures 40". A lot of knitters take too much notice of the 'actual measurement' usually saying something like "that will be too big for me so I'll do a size less than that". My rule is - if you like the fit of the model's garment on the pattern cover then go off the chest/bust measurement. The excess is for ease of movement but if you want it to be very fitted then go off the actual measurements. Remember it is the garment on the pattern and how it fits that model that appealed to you in the first place!
So here is the start of my knitting...
I'll keep you updated and thanks for reading. 
Annette xx
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Guest Post: Tie & Pocket Hankie Tutorial by Nicky Broom

Perfect for a gift or simply to co-ordinate an outfit. Here is a quick make using Simplicity Sewing Pattern 8180.

Materials Needed

0.90m Cotton Lawn Fabric (Pre washed & pressed)

0.70m Lightweight Fusible Interfacing

Matching Sewing Thread

Cutting Out

With sewing getting the straight of grain correct is an important aspect as it allows a the garment to hang correctly. As I was using a woven fabric I used the tear method to find the thread going across the fabric.

To do this make a small cut through selvage edge, then grip both sides of fabric firmly & pull apart.


Iron the pattern pieces to ensure there are no wrinkles distorting the shape. The tie consists of two pieces. Lay these following the grainline & secure in place. I have used a mixture of pins & weights to prevent pattern moving.

Do the same with the 2 interfacing pattern pieces.


Use hand basting to transfer fold lines & markings to fabric.

Join the two sections together at centre, matching the dots, press seam open.

Apply interfacing, overlapping at centre, making sure that it is placed between the two fold lines you marked earlier.

Fold ends along foldlines (right sides together). Secure & stitch.

Trim seam & corner then turn out the right way. Press.

Now fold tie right sides together, matching notches, pin and stitch long edges together.

Turn tie right side out and press.

Hand basting can now be removed. As an added extra why not add a strip of ribbon to back to provide a tie stay for narrow end to be threaded through.

Pocket Hankie

For the matching pocket Hankie cut a square of fabric measuring 26cm.

To neaten edges turn a narrow fold to wrong side & stitch close to edge. 

Then trim close to stitch line. Repeat this on all 4 sides. 

Finally turn each edge over again, stitch and press. 

Now you have the perfect matching pair.

To read more from Nicky please head over to her blog SewandSnip!


My London Day Dress

Hello everyone! 
Ive been on a roll sewing dresses recently! You may have seen my blog post last week where I made a dress for a wedding. Well since then I had another excuse to make a dress for myself...oh yeah! Im very good at coming up with excuses to make dresses haha! This time round is was my husband Richard's brother's birthday. He lives in London so his girlfriend arranged for us and a group of his friends to get together to celebrate.
It's on these sorts of occasions I never seem to have anything to wear, are you the same? Dresses I had seemed to be just too 'dressed up', but I wanted to wear something more special than jeans and a top.
I had been fretting about it to Richard and he said 'make something then'. So I did! Now bearing in mind, it was Wednesday when I decided to make something and the get together was on Saturday. I had things planned on both the Thursday and Friday night, so I only had Wednesday night to make it. The pattern had to be something quick and easy.
I finally settled on McCalls 6922;
I know you might look at this and think there are patterns that would be quicker to make than this, and you're right. But I just feel head over heels for this pattern. I think its so pretty and feminine. And I love fit and flare styles like this. It was view C particularly that I fell for. But I also love the halter neck version and the one with longer sleeves. Im sure I will make those in the future too, so a good value pattern for me. I loved the fullness of the skirt, the little raglan sleeves and the V neckline (which is always more flattering on me I think).
Now for the fabric choice. Ive had my heart set on making a plain navy blue dress from our Ponte Roma Jersey fabric for a while now. But every time I think 'I'll make that this weekend', something else makes it way higher up the 'to-sew' priority queue. And I've never yet got round to making it. The same thing happened this time.
I thought this dress just teamed so nicely with this new Floral Ponte Fabric that arrived quite recently at Minerva. I love all 3 colouways, but in the end I picked the 'pink and green' one. It's just so pretty! And I thought it really suited the pattern with it being a girly, feminine sort of style. 
And so my navy blue dress is still only in my head, waiting to be made!
Onto the cutting and sewing that evening! The fabric was really lovely to work with. If you've sewn with Ponte Roma Fabrics before you will know how well they 'behave' in comparison to other Jersey Fabrics. This particular fabric is quite unusual though in that it only really stretches one way. And it's on the lighter side for a ponte roma. It's very soft and drapey, perfect for styles like this.
The fit of the pattern on me was OK straight from the packet but I had to take a LOT in at the waist. I did it just by taking in a lot at the side seams. But the rest of it fit pretty well as it was, so it wasnt much of an alteration to make. I always seem to have that issue with patterns in that I will go off my measurements to decide what size to make (usually always a 16/18 on the pattern sizes), and then I always end up taking a lot in at the waist. Like I say though it wasnt a difficult thing to fix.
The pattern was pretty simple, but I knew I was asking a lot of myself to have this made up in one evening. I didnt quite make it. I didnt want to take any short cuts so the following day I got into work early and cracked on finishing it.
If you follow Minerva Crafts on Instagram, you may remember seeing this picture I took of the finished dress on the Thursday;
Well here's some finished pictures of me in the dress. I completely forgot to take any when we were down in London (we were too busy having a good time!), so I've taken some of me wearing the dress this morning...
I love how the skirt moves when you spin...
And to think, I almost missed out the godets thinking 'that will save me some time'. I'm so glad I decided to put them in because I just love the fullness of the skirt bit and how it moves.
So what do you think? I really love this pattern and fabric combo and would definitely recomend it. I really do love my new dress and am glad I have a more 'dressed-down' dress in my wardrobe now to wear on occasions like this. Plus I thought I can use this pattern again to sew a plain navy blue one :)
Thanks for reading, I would love to hear your comments on the dress!
Vicki xx

Amazing Fit Dress

Hello, I plotted to make this dress about 4 weeks ago for a wedding I attended with my husband Richard last weekend. I had two really good reasons for making this dress. 1) I had NOTHING to wear to this wedding (OK, I'm sure I did, but I just wanted something new haha!) and 2) I just had to make something from this gorgeous new Jacquard Fabric that recently arrived here at Minerva. Just look at that fabric!
It is just the sort of fabric I love. Neutral shades with a bold print. And the fabric itself is amazing. It seems to be made of two layers that are somehow bonded together. So it has a good amount of body, yet isnt stiff. Watch our fabric video and it will give you a sense of how this fabric behaves.
Once I had decided to make a dress, and to use this fabric, next was to decide on the pattern. I had a vague idea of what I wanted. Because my shape is hourglass but slightly more bottom heavy I like fit and flare styles that pull in at the waist but then flare out over my tummy and bum. I never used to wear this style, but since trying it I realise just how much I like it and how flattering it is on me.
My mum and I had been talking about the Simplicity Amazing Fit Sewing Patterns only a few days before I decided to make a dress for this wedding. Having never tried one and hearing very good reports on them from some of the Minerva Bogger Network Team, I decided to try one out.
The first one I found was Simplicity 1011, which I still really love, but I decided against it because I thought the amount of panels in the dress would distort the pattern in the fabric too much. I got myself a copy of this pattern though as I will definitely make this in another fabric in the future.
The next one I looked at which was one my mum suggested was Simplicity 8047. I wouldn't have made the overbodice, just the dress underneath. This was a definite contender.
I finally settled on Simplicity 2247 view B. I just loved the shape of the skirt part, plus it has fewer panels that either of the other 2 patterns. I liked the V Neck and I also really liked the sleeves with the three little tucks.
I made my final decision on the pattern last thing on the Saturday here at work (the week before the wedding). I work 6 days a week here at Minerva so I knew I didnt have much free time and really needed to get cracking! 
I cut the pattern out that same night, cut the fabric and even got a bit of pinning done too. I managed all of that quite well to say I'd had a couple of glasses of wine haha!
As you can see in the photo above there are quite a few pieces to this dress, but since I read Sheila's post about her Vogue Ball Gown that was constructed from no less than 78 pieces (yes, 78!), this one seemed a doddle!
By the end of Saturday night I had all the pattern pieces cut! Yey!
For those of you who follow Minerva Crafts on Instagram you will have seen my 'sewing updates' throughout the day on Sunday. I started sewing at around 1pm and just got the dress finished in the nick of time by about 9pm. It was a full day sewing session to get it finished!
My 'sewing marathon' made me think of this sewing quote haha...
The constuction of the dress was pretty straight forward. Im very lucky that I have my mum (who is the best sewer I know) always on hand to help me out. I try to rely on her help as little as possible but it is a very good feeling to always know she is there.
I agree with what people say in that these amazing fit patterns are pretty awesome. You take your measurements as normal to determine what size of pattern to cut out, and you also work out your cup size. Now if I was to buy RTW clothing I would be a size 12 or 14 depending on the shop. On this pattern my measurements said an 18. You really do have to ignore the fact that your size may not be the same as the sizing you buy in the shops. It is much more important to go off your measurements. For the cup size, I would normally take a D cup, but going off my measurements the pattern told me to cut a C cup, so I did.
Simplicity Amazing Fit patterns give a bigger seam allowance on some of the pattern pieces, so when you come to fit them to you there is a bit of 'wiggle room'. In my case I went the other way in that I had to take quite a bit in on the side seams at the waist part, and continued this line down throught the skirt so that the shape of the piece remained the same. 
I would recommend this pattern for an intermediate sewist. Someone who has had a go at beginner patterns before and wants to try something a little harder than an absolute beginners pattern. It really was pretty easy!
The photo above is a picture of the dress taken on Sunday night. All I literally had left to do was a bit of hand sewing. "I will do that one night during the week" I said to myself... yep you have guessed it...I was there the morning of the wedding in our hotel room doing the hand sewing haha! Now that I definitely would not recommend!
The wedding we went to was at Burnley Football club (which is the team my husband Richard and all his family support, coming from Burnley). My family are Blackburn Rovers supporters. If you are local, or a football fan, you will know the rivalry between these two teams! So as you can imagine, at the wedding Richard was taking photos of me everywhere where he could get a shot of me against a Burnley club sign to prove I was 'one of them' haha. Even pictures taken against the ground itself...
Would you beleive it, out of all the pictures we took that day I dont seem to have a single one showing the full length of my dress, so I took some this morning so I could show it to you...
So what do you think? I have fallen in love with this new dress and am so happy I decided to make one for the wedding, which was a fantastic day!!
Thanks for reading everyone! 
Vicki x
P.S. if you would like to try out a Simplicity Amazing Fit Sewing Pattern for yourself they are all half price at the moment, so its the perfect excuse :)

Felted Jacket

Well as promised I'm having a go at Needle Felting on a garment. The pattern I chose is Vogue 8430 (which is on half price sale at the moment!) 
You may remember me talking about this pattern in a previous blog post where I was suggesting patterns for our washable wool fabric, which as I mentioned at the time has no wool in it, hence the 'easy wash' .
The more I looked at this pattern, and all the different colourways I gave, the more I wanted to actually make it. And so here I am using the brown washable wool, Sirdar Bouffle in shade 723 and Trimits Natural Roving in Cream Beige.
I decided I would just cut out one piece (that needed felting on) to start with, just in case I hated doing it or indeed made a complete mess of it!! 
I thought the best way would be to place a pin at all the points on the pattern which were ends of lines, where the lines crossed and centre of the circles. I took extra care checking each line and circle against my pattern piece and hey the next photo is the result. Lets face it you wouldn't leave it too long looking like it did in the above photo, so I immediately drew my lines and circles using a Clover Quilting Pencil and a ruler. All ready to start felting!!
At first I used a single point felting needle to secure the yarn. This was done roughly every centimetre along the length of the yarn. At this point it can be removed very easily and re-positioned if required. The more you 'needle' over the length of yarn, the yarn becomes more 'fused' into the fabric. The pattern suggests to keep turning the fabric over and felt from the wrong side until the yarns are firmly blended. I found I didn't need to do this because I had felted it so much from the right side! I so enjoyed it. Part way through my first piece I changed to this felting tool by Clover which is called a Pen style needle felting tool, this you can use with either 1, 2 or 3 needles. It does say in the instructions to use 2 needles when felting a line, as I am now with the yarn. I am actually using all 3, I suppose this is ok because of the width of the yarn. 
I felted all the vertical lines first, followed by the horizontal lines and last of all I attempted the circles. I practiced first on spare fabric
I used the 3 tool for this also and then when the circle was complete I I used a 7 needle tool (for speed) being careful not to let the needles go beyond the edge of the roving yarn. If it does go beyond the yarn I found there could be prick marks on the brown fabric and this did not look good. So careful does it! I have both a brush and a foam pad for felting on but for this project I found the foam pad more than suitable. The circles were easier to do than I imagined once I got into it. You start at the centre and wind the roving yarn around. Again securing it to start with. 
The felted design is different on all 3 pieces, these being the right front, the left front and the back.
Now on to the dressmaking part. This is pretty much straightforward, with there only being shoulder seams, side seams, sleeve seams, a long dart in the sleeves and actually sewing in the sleeves. 
Now what to do with the edges!!
On the pattern itself, ready felted wool fabric has been used to make the jacket out of and it doesn't fray. Oops!!!! mine does fray. Now there are no facings on this pattern, indeed no seam allowances on the edges at all because if you use the 'correct fabric' they aren't needed. I didn't look through my instructions properly did I? (and there's me forever preaching to you about always reading through them haha). So yes I've boobed but hey ho lets have a look at what my options now are. 
My first thought was to use bias-binding but I couldn't find an exact match to the brown nor could I find a contrast that I really loved, something that would have blended with either the Sirdar Bouffle or the roving yarn. My next idea was to use the Sirdar Bouffle and work a blanket stitch all around the edges. I tried to do it using a chenille needle but the yarn just did not want to be pulled through this tightly woven fabric. I then decided to attach the yarn using a zigzag stitch on my machine. After trying a few different stitches I realised the thread was always going to show. I wasn't happy with that so what to do now? 
And then an idea hit me!! Felt it on. I wasn't happy with it at first till I realised it would be better felting it on the wrong side too, double the work!! This is the first sleeve done. What do you think? I'll give you my opinion when I've done a bit more (I don't want to speak too soon).
Guess what I've only gone and broke all 3 needles in one 'prod'! Do any of you lovely experienced felters out there have any tips for a beginner like me? I seem to have done so much on my jacket and then all of a sudden 'snap'. Maybe I was getting too 'cocky'! So when getting myself some new felting needles, I came across Clover Speed Needle Refills. With these the 'barbs' are more concentrated at the tip of the needle, so the felting yarn can be condensed quickly with shorter strokes. Now there are only 2 needles per pack so I needed two packs. Although it's working out more expensive, I'm finding it much quicker and lets face it that's an advantage with how much work I've set myself! 
Oh dear, I've spoken too soon, here goes another oop's. I've just read that if using the Pen style needle felting tool with these speed needles, it is recommended to use just 1 needle and here I am using all 3!! Well so far so good but we shall see!!
'Update' I've broken 3 more needles so I am left with just 1 needle out of my 2 packets. So I'm going to carry on with 1 needle as advised! Success for a while but I've now broken my last one. Please, please please fellow felters, have you any tips to share with me. I'm gonna be pulling my hair out in a minute so I'm off to make a cup of tea!
Haha well I'm back, I may have solved the problem of 'how many felting needles can be broken in just one session' saga. (It's surprising how a cup of tea helps). First of all it is very easy to start holding your needle on a slant, it must be held upright. I also realised that I wasn't re-placing the 'guard' over the needles!! On the following 2 photo's look at the length of the needles without the guard on compared to with the guard on. No wonder I was breaking the needles!! 
I'm particularly pleased with how good the felting looks on these corners...
It really emphasizes the split level hem. I hope you like my jacket, I absolutely love it. 
I love it that much I am now thinking of knitting or crocheting a jumper to go under the jacket in the Sirdar Bouffle, a long one so I'll get a fabulous layered effect. The patterns I have in mind are this sirdar knitting pattern or this sirdar crochet pattern. Either would have to be worked longer so will definitely take one ball extra, possibly two. I'll let you know if I do make it.
So after an expensive lesson learned, I'll say tara till next time.
Thanks for reading,
Annette xx

Sweatshirt Top

Hi everybody, just a quick post today. My Grand-daughter Jess has wanted me to make her this top since before Christmas would you believe. What with one thing and another, mainly 'getting into' my #FabricFridays and #Patternoftheweek posts, I am only now making it, much to her relief. (I think she wants to wear it tonight). The pattern she chose is Burda 6850 version A. She'll be wearing it with her skinny jeans size 'tiny' (lucky thing).
Here at Minerva we now have in stock a fabulous quality sweatshirt fabric and Jess has chose the lighter of the two greys. The inside is so snuggly that she can't wait to wear it. And so, what can I say about sewing this garment, other than it is so easy. There is a seam down the back, leaving an opening at the top. This is marked on the pattern piece.
 After sewing the shoulder and under arm/side seams, these will be pressed open.
I wish at this point I had an overlocker (I'm getting one soon - any advise on which one to get would be greatly appreciated!) Next I'm attaching the neck facing.
This seam is trimmed down to approx 1/4 inch which then you need to snip. I have found the perfect scissors for snipping (these are certainly not a necessity, your ordinary shears will do the job just as good as long as they are nice and sharp at the tips). These are Fiskars F9476 Comfort grip micro tip scissors and they have really short blades and oversized handles. This combination gives you exceptional control especially when cutting or snipping through bulky fabrics. All Fiskars products for dressmaking and crafts are renowned for their functionality and cutting-edge design. For this reason fiskars scissors stand out from the rest due to the quality. These are the type of additional scissors you could get when you feel like treating yourself or you have a birthday coming up!
After turning the facing to the right side and pressing, I am quite pleased with the result.
After the neckline there is the hem at the bottom and the turn back cuff on the sleeve edge. A very deep hem is turned under on the sleeve and this is then turned back on itself to form a cuff. No separate pieces so easy peasy. 
For the hem, the pattern suggests either hand sewing or machining. I have chose the latter, for speed more that anything (Jess has just popped her head round the door to see if it will be ready in time for tonight) and also I can use my duck-billed scissors to trim the hem on the inside. These are known as Applique Embroidery scissors and the unusual shape is described as "helps to prevent accidental damage to the material or applique". Here at Minerva we have two makes - Madeira Scissors and Klasse Scissors. I have the latter which are a little cheaper at £14.99
It does feel much safer to trim right next to the edge
So one suited Grand-daughter. Hope you like the photo's...
And then of course some silly ones... Jess is such a poser haha!
And a final picture of us being silly together!
Thanks for reading,
Annette xx

Orla Dress Pattern Hack in Triple Crepe

Have you seen this recent post on the Tilly and the Buttons blog?
The beautiful 'Orla' pattern by Tilly and the Buttons has been hacked into a dress by Vanessa (one of the team over at 'Tilly Towers'). It has been made in our beautiful Triple Crepe Fabric in the ivory shade.
Doesn't it look wonderful? I just had to share it with you to show how beautiful this fabric is when made up, and to show what a great pattern hack this is. If you already have the Orla pattern you could give this a try!
One more shot of the dress...
I love how the weight of this Crepe Fabric makes the dress hang. And even the ivory shade didn't need lining!
To find out how to make this, be sure to pop over to Tilly and the Buttons to read more!
Til next time,
Vicki x

Jewellery Making Joy!

Now, something you might not know about Minerva Crafts is that we stock Jewellery Making supplies! As Jewellery Makers, Catherine (my partner in office-crime) and I have often drooled over the Jewellery Making Pliers in stock (figuratively, of course!). We have a great choice of supplies available, and I'm here to shine a little light on the sort of stuff you can do with it!
Starting off easy we have Sarah Ortega with her fabulously cute DIY Birds Nest Neckace tutorial. These would be so sweet as a gift because you can personalise them with the recipients favourite colour, their birthstone, anything!  All you need for this is your choice of BeadsJewellery Wire, Necklace Chain, and Clasps. You don't even need pliers!
Over at Craft Gossip there's a great tutorial for an Easy Wire Wrap Bracelet which is a natural progression from the Birds Nest. Working with larger beads a casing is created by wrapping the wire to cage the stones, beads et c.. in creating a really stunning effect! What I like about this is you're not limited to beads, you can use anything! Old Coins, a piece of Sea-Glass, a pretty rock from the beach, all sorts!
Now these are my favourite of the tutorials I found,and the inspiration for this post. Cheri Dowd writing for Craft Stylish creating these earrings of JOY They are absolutely gorgeous, and the great think is you can make all this for £5.70! Throw in an extra 99p if you have to buy the crochet hook, too. That's right, crochet hook! These earrings are crocheted with fine wire,placing the bead of your choice at the centre.
So what do you think? Inspired to rock some home made jewellery? Be sure to share anything you make, we love to see what you crafty lot can do!
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Katie B xo

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