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Megan Nielsen’s Dawn Jeans

I made jeans! I still can’t believe it. These are definitely one of my proudest makes and I am so excited to share them with you. I used Megan Nielsen’s Dawn Jeans Pattern which is a high waisted, vintage inspired jean. The Dawn Jeans pattern is for non stretch denim so it was a perfect match for this Robert Kaufman Selvedge Denim. There are four different views- a tapered leg, straight leg, wide leg and shorts. I made View B which is the straight leg. The pattern includes a button fly but there is a tutorial on Megan Nielsen's blog for an exposed button fly or a zipper fly- I chose the latter! 

This Robert Kaufman denim is heavy weight and a dark wash with red and yellow selvedge edges. There’s a slight design on the reverse side which is pretty neat! This denim is only 31 inches wide so I had to take that into consideration when figuring out how much I would need. I knew I wanted to leave the selvedge as a design feature so I made sure to place the side seams of the front and back pattern pieces on the selvedge edges. I only lost the selvedge from the waist to the hip. You can see a little bit of the selvedge when I roll up the legs!

There are very few projects where I have taken the time to make a toile before cutting into my fabric and this is one of those times. Since there is no stretch in this denim, I was scared I would cut a size too small. I also knew these would be a lot of work so I didn’t want the fit to be off! I made a very quick mock up out of some scrap fabric I had and was pretty confident with the size I chose so I cut into the denim. I used another fabric for the pocket bags. The pocket bags are a way to add some fun on the inside so I used a vintage floral cotton for them.  

I really didn’t have any issues sewing these jeans once I figured out the best settings on my machine for the topstitching. There is a lot of topstitching involved (one or two rows for nearly every step) so figuring that out is very important. These jeans were time consuming but I also didn’t rush the process. I have sewn a zipper fly before and I have also sewn with denim before but I was still so nervous with this project! I took them one step at a time. Using a denim needle in my machine was absolutely necessary. I was so relieved I didn’t break any! I had a few really thick spots that I was nervous about sewing through. I hand cranked my machine during those sections or it is recommended to take a hammer to them to flatten them out. It worked! 

My husband enjoys leather working so he cut me a piece of leather and put sewing holes in it for the back patch. It looked so plain when I went to sew it on though. I had an idea to try out my wood burner on it and it worked! I free handed this sewing machine design and I am so thrilled with how it turned out. 

I am so happy with these jeans. I think the fit is great and more importantly- I feel great in them! This denim is such amazing quality. I know I will have and wear these for many years to come!

Thanks for reading,

Erin @ Poetic Memory

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Tilly and the Buttons Megan Dress

Hiya! I’m back, with yup, you’ve guessed it…… florals! I just cannot resist a floral fabric, they are always super pretty and super fun. I thought this fabric would make a lovely Tilly and the Buttons Megan dress, so I went with that.

Once washed and dried, this Cotton Fabric was an absolute dream to work with. It stayed where it was supposed to and had hardly any need for many pins and clips. It cut really well and I had no fraying which is fab! 

The colours are really bright, even though it’s a dark based fabric, the flowers really do pop. I absolutely love rainbow thread, so it was a must that I finished all of my seams on the over locker – I can say my dress is bright and colourful on the inside – just like me! 

The pattern does not call for the bodice to be lined, it is made with a neck facing. Sometimes with a thinner fabric, I do worry about it being too thin for an unlined bodice but this fabric really fit the bill and was just perfect. The fabric behaved so well when marking and sewing in the darts. I do find sometimes a fabric can slip a bit when sewing darts – this did not.

Again when lining up the skirt with the bodice and matching darts and tucks, the fabric did not move which made it even easier to line up for an accurate sew. I attached the skirt to the bodice using the over locker, I just went straight in with that instead of basting with the sewing machine first… I know..what a rebel! I had faith that it would glide through perfectly and not cause me problems, which it did. It makes me so happy knowing a fabric is going to behave, that means the whole process is going to be a breeze and the awesome feeling of achievement when done is going to be heightened even more, which spurs me on to get a project finished sooner rather than later!

Tilly and The Buttons Megan has gathered sleeves that have a little bit of puff to them to give them that dramatic effect. The sleeves are probably my favourite part of the dress. 

Even though the fabric was nice and soft, it still had a stiffness to it, which made my sleeves really stand up and ensured the dress also held its shape.

Inserting a zipper in a dress normally gets me a bit nervous…… I keep thinking I will mess it up, my machine will eat it etc. - all the normal worries. I can honestly say with this dress, at the point of inserting the zipper, I was a tad excited and knew it would be a one-time thing, no unpicking and the re- stitching that would normally occur. I’m sure I squealed when it went in and did all the way up. I finished off the bottom of the dress, stood back and admired my work. For once, it all went smoothly.

I will definitely be making some more!

Until next time…

Tee

@The_craftee_welsh_one

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Blackwood Cardigan in Maroon Rib Jersey Knit

Hello everyone, I’m Kealy from Voice of a Creative. This time for my Minerva Makers blog post, I chose this awesome Melange Rib Jersey Knit Fabric.

I had been looking at this fabric for a little while, I love the look of a ribbed fabric for cardigans because of the texture mix with other garments. This fabric comes in so many different colours including maroon, mustard, olive, rust, sand and slate. You could probably make a cardigan to match every outfit from that selection. The fabric is 85% polyester, 10% Viscose and 5% Elastane.

I decided to make a Blackwood Cardigan by Helens Closet. This is my tried and true pattern for cardigans, because it works out so well every time I make it. This pattern has just had its size range increased as well, so even more people can enjoy the pattern. I used to have a ready to wear cranberry cardigan which I wore all the time but is now looking faded and stretched out, so I wanted to make a replacement maroon cardigan. I love the colour of this fabric as I can wear it with navy and blues, which means it will go with many items in my wardrobe.

I make the size large in this pattern and find that it fits me well with no adjustments. Although when making the Blackwood cardigan I often double the width of the neckband, as I feel a lot cosier like this. I find that this also means I can fold the neckband over the give a different look when I wear it.

One element I really love about this pattern is the cuffs, I even use the pattern piece to add cuffs to my other makes. I tried using clips this time instead of pins, so I could sew it straight on the overlocker, this worked well, and I will do this more in the future. The finished cuff looks so smooth and professional after being sewn on the overlocker.

I vary the length of the cardigan each time I make it, the length I like best is half way between the short and long length on the pattern as I feel this length suits me best. This way I can wear the cardigan with dresses as well as jeans. When I do this, I fold up the pattern to the desired length and cut at that point, I also cut the longer length waistband piece to accommodate for my hips.

The most challenging part of this cardigan is the pockets, they are patch pockets, but I have had very little success with them in the past, so I chose not to include them in this make.

This fabric was easy to work with, I managed to cut the pieces out neatly and accurately. It was also easy sew on my sewing machine, especially using my walking foot, as I usually use this with stretch fabrics. However, I struggled a little with it on my overlocker, especially when sewing 4 layers. It worked out in the end though and I just had to pay a little more attention when overlocking.

I love the final cardigan, especially the colour and the rib on the fabric and I will get so much wear out of this cardigan.

Thanks for reading,

Kealy @ Voice of a Creative

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Astoria Revisited

I think as I go along I am getting more confident in knowing what I like and do not like, style-wise. There are still some oops-es along the way for sure but far less than a few years ago. I had made the Astoria from Seamwork magazine twelve to eighteen months ago and it was a bit of a flop for me because I had not lengthened it enough. Once I saw this Jacquard Jersey Knit Fabric in the pink colorway, I knew I wanted to try again.

Let’s begin with the pattern. It is a super simple sew, with real wardrobe staple possibilities. Whether you choose to wear it as is or modify the pattern there are so many things you can do with it. I opted to hack it. I lengthened it three and a half inches; I am not particularly tall but I do not care for cropped as I have a tummy. I also chopped the sleeves to a short sleeve length as well as lowered the neckline. What I ended up with surprised me so much!

This is the perfect Springtime sweater as well as Winter, in Texas at least. Though I will say it has been quite cold here as of late. This sweater is great for throwing on with jeans or even a nicer pair of trousers. It is light enough that I can still throw on a cardigan with it without the sleeves getting all jammed up in the arms. Admittedly, I do not feel as though I can dress this up too much but I can get away with it for dress - casual and definitely casual and even lounging around.

Now, the fabric. I chose the pink colorway as I am super into dusty and blush pinks right now. Everything I have been drawn to colorwise lately has primarily been pink tones. I fought my mother hard over pink whilst I was growing up but having matured (a tiny bit at least) I have come to realize that she was right. Depending on the tone of pink, it can be a really good color choice for me. Though I think Navy will always be my true color love.

The fabric is a really lovely jersey jacquard, there is stretch but not a lot of it like a rayon viscose jersey. It is more along the lines of a ponte. It is very suitable for sweaters and cardigans, even a sweater dress in this would be lovely. Plus it is so incredibly snuggly and soft, you won’t want to wear anything else. It sewed and washed really well and I’ve had no pilling at all. Trust me, I’ve worn it enough to actually test this out. It is THAT comfy! There are four colorways in total and yes navy is one (I want it!!). The reverse of the fabric is super cute as well and could absolutely be used in color-blocking. I just know I am going to enjoy wearing this for years to come.

Sew, Laugh, Repeat

~Viv

@_stitchesandseams_

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My Constellation Pajama Set

Hi everyone, it's Stephanie, The Petite Sewist and welcome to my first project on the Minerva Crafts Blog! I'm sharing my constellation pajama set today. I love sewing with knits because they are so comfortable and easy to fit. I think adding RTW details to knit projects is satisfying and fun. If you're unfamiliar or scared of knits, I encourage you to take a class, watch videos, or connect with people online, and give them a try! The Jersey Fabric I used would be great for a beginner to learn on.

This knit fabric by Stof has 25% 4 way stretch so it's great for more stable knit projects. I mashed two patterns together to create a henley. The Itch to Stitch Idyllwild Top was perfect because it requires only 25% 2 way stretch. I borrowed the placket from the Visby Henley Pattern and used a white cotton/lycra as contrast fabric.

I am fortunate enough to own a serger and coverstitch machine for sewing knits, but those tools are not necessary. Many people use their sewing machines for knits, exclusively. Pop in a stretch or jersey needle, perhaps a walking foot and get familiar with those stretch stitches!

This is my second time using the placket on the Visby Henley pattern and I opted to use snaps....again! I really love using pearlized snaps, and I had these navy ones in my sewing room all ready to go. I must admit that I'm not an expert at placing these but luckily they are pretty easy to remove with needle-nose pliers if you mis-set one. The most important thing is to mark your placement on the left and right sides of the placket carefully. I like to use a heat erasable marker. If you have any tips on how to set a snap without cracking the face of it, please comment below! I have to use a hammer to set them, so I'm wondering if the cracking is inevitable.

For the pants, I used the Carita Joggers Pattern by New Horizons Designs. This was an experiment because the pattern calls for 35% and this fabric has less than that. The designer recommends perhaps taking a smaller seam allowance when using this fabric with the Carita pattern. You would need to use a contrast fabric with more stretch for the waistband and the cuffs. I tried taking a 1/4" seam allowance instead of 3/8" but the normal seam allowance was fine (I have very slender legs). I did a flat seat adjustment, my usual crotch curve adjustments and petite height adjustments. I don't plan on taking any snacks to bed with me so I opted for no pockets. I shortened the waistband so it hits bellow my belly button. They are very comfy!

Now I've got a pretty decent pair of matching pajamas, my first in probably 20 years! I'm really glad I took the time to make the placket, it was definitely the icing on the cake!

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Chalk and Notch Orchid Dress Hack

Hi friends!

Alexis here and I am very excited to be on Minerva Blog today and join the Maker’s Team!

When my first makers call was announced, I quickly opened the links to check out the fabric and was totally blown away. I have a tendency to wear dark colors or simple prints but I’m trying to get out of my simpleness and embrace a bolder color palette and pattern. I was immediately drawn to the Floral Viscose Challis Fabric and it seemed like the perfect fit for the season.

Choosing my fabric was simple, I mean hello! Beautiful Floral Viscose Challis fabric! Picking the pattern on the other hand had my head spinning. I think I came up with 8 different projects before deciding on Chalk and Notch’s new Orchid dress. The beautiful, elegant and retro floral print needed it’s equal! But, since I am me and can’t leave well enough alone, I decided to hack the Midi dress into a peplum top. I tend to wear more tops with jeans rather then dresses (even though I do love dresses). I thought it would get more use and I can pair it with white pants for Easter.

Before I share more about the hack, I just wanted to mention a trick I do when I am working with any kind of slippery fabrics: I do one of two things, before cutting the pattern out I iron and use starch to stiffen the fabric. If I forget to do that, hey it happens, I will iron and starch my pattern pieces, especially the front and back bodices.

Ok, onto the hack…

Let’s start at the sleeves; I cut 5” off my sleeve pattern pieces then my fabric. This created a ¾ sleeves length that hit at my forearm. To be honest, It’s my favorite sleeve length. Even when I wear a flannel button down shirt in winter I find I roll them up to the forearm.

Since the Orchid dress uses elastic in the waistband to cinch in the waist I added two ½” waistline darts about 3” in from each side seam and about 4” in length. This created a more tailored fit to the back.

The next change and obviously the biggest, was with the skirt. It’s normally a midi length dress or you can even make it a jumper! I cut 2 rectangle pieces- 10 ½” x 43”, one for the front and one for the back. It’s roughly double the width of the bodice. Also, I am 5’5” tall so when you are making yours, you can use that for reference.

So those 3 things were the only parts I deviated from to create the Orchid Peplum Top! Super easy right?!? And… the soft and flowy Floral Viscose was the perfect drape to complete the look. After I was finished sewing and threw it on for a fit check, I immediately thought, yep I am going to need 3-20 more!

After you pick out some fabric on Minerva’s shop and make your own Peplum top, tag Minerva Crafts and me @myysweetsunshine. We can’t wait to see!

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A Gingham Moneta Dress

Gingham is one of my favorite wardrobe staples; it’s one of those complementary prints that enhances whatever solid color is worn with it. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with brighter, bolder colors and lacking corresponding pieces to wear with them! I’m also a sucker for classic prints and shapes, so when I saw this dark and light grey Gingham Stretch Fabric, I had to try it.

This fabric is a medium-weight, one-way 50% stretch, almost opaque, ponte roma. I had originally planned to make a pair of stretch, close-fitting trousers that I had prematurely dubbed “the pedal pushers”, but when I received the fabric I realized that it did not have enough hold and density for a pair of pants (that wouldn’t sag or display panty lines), but instead offered a lovely drape that would work well with a gathered skirt. The Moneta Dress by Colette Patterns has been on my list of patterns to make for a while, so I decided to dive right in!

In terms of sizing, Colette Patterns’ size 0 is often a size too big in the bust for me (33” and I currently measure at 32”), but as the Moneta is designed with negative ease, I decided to make the size 0 without scaling down. It was a risky shortcut, but lucky for me, the fit turned out just fine!

That said, I made a few modifications while sewing. First, I didn’t have the patience to fiddle with the elastic method of gathering as described in the instructions, so I gathered the skirt pieces at the waistline in the traditional fashion (with three lines of long stitches) and it worked just fine.

The sleeves were also too short for my taste; the pattern described them as ¾ length but they finished well above my elbow, which I found to be particularly unflattering. I briefly considered adding a self-drafted sleeve cuff, as the small gingham pattern would have camouflaged the seam line pretty well but then opted to shorten the hem allowance instead. In order to get the sleeve-length down to at least the crux of my elbow, I hemmed the sleeves at 3/8” (1cm) rather than at 1” as instructed.

I also wanted to keep the skirt length close to the top of my knee, so I also hemmed the skirt at 3/8” (1cm) rather than at 1” as called for.

At first, I was a little hesitant about the way the gathered skirt looked over my belly and bum – I usually find dresses with gathered skirts and waistlines positioned above the natural waist to look childish and lumpy on me. I have since been assured by others that it is not in fact unflattering on my body, so I think it might just be a question of trying a new silhouette that I’m not entirely comfortable with yet.

I am delighted with the neckline in both the front and the back however; it makes me feel very much like a swan!

Also, it has pockets! In the end, I’ve worn this dress out a few times and it is incredibly comfortable while presenting a chic, put-together look. Now to work on some bright, flashy, complementary pieces! 

Thanks for reading,

Sarah @sarah__naomi_

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Remix Stretch Inari Tee Dress

When I first got into sewing clothing, the Inari Tee dress was all the rage. They appeared to be everywhere and everybody was making them in all kinds of wonderful fabrics. Rarely have I sewn a pattern more than once but this one is the exception. I’d say the success of a pattern is having the potential to envision it in multiple versions eg; length/fit/sleeve/fabric choice… This is Inari #3 for me and I think, no I’m sure… it’s my favourite. Each time I’ve adjusted the length and this is the longest yet.

The Fabric: Robert Kaufmann Remix Jersey Fabric

Colour: Black

What amazing fabric! Sometimes you spot a fabric and just know that whatever you sew with it, it’ll rock! This fabric for me was just that and definitely what my wardrobe was craving. Being of medium weight, this 100% cotton jersey was destined for great things. I literally procrastinated over and over as to what I’d make with it as my ideas were endless.

Only a few years left until I hit the big 40 but why should that factor into what I wear or feel comfortable in? Life is too short to wear boring clothes and I’m not about to start changing who I am to fit in with the status quo. The only person you need please is yourself and man do I love this dress and how I feel in it.

The Pattern: Named Clothing Inari Tee Dress

The fabric, in my eyes was begging for a simple silhouette. Nothing with too much faff that would divert from it’s cool, fun geometric pattern. That’s when it clicked! The ‘Inari Tee dress’ by Named clothing. A sporty, casual loose style with its cocoon shape.

The pattern comes in 2 variations with slits at the side and a rolled up sleeve effect. The cocoon shaping with its uneven hemline is the ultimate in comfort chic. The pattern allows you to choose between a neck facing or neckband version and I picked the latter. 

So, how did I make it my own…?: 

If I told you I had this exact look in mind before I even cut the fabric, would you believe me? Well, it’s true! As soon as I saw the black and white pattern I knew whatever I made from it, I’d be wearing it with my chucks! It’s funny how sometimes you find shoes to fit clothes and other times it’s the reverse scenario. 

Having a lack of longer style dresses (as I pretty much live in jeans), I thought this would be the fitting pattern to hack into a below the knee version. At a mere 5 foot 3 inches, normally I shy away from anything too long as it makes me look even shorter. Plus, knowing I’d be wearing it with flats the key here are the side slits. Without them, it simply wouldn’t have worked for me. 

So here’s what I did:

I extended both the front and back pattern pieces by 6 inches, simply by taping the extra length to the existing pattern pieces. Maintaining the slightly curved shaping of the hemline and the side slit position as they would be on the regular length version. Resulting in a longer in length dress with the original slits so that I could hopefully look taller. Or at the very least, not shorter! 

Result:

I am thrilled with the look I achieved with the combination of this amazing fabric and the ultimate pattern. The fabric was easy to work with, sewn with a jersey needle/zigzag stitch on my sewing machine. I overlocked my seams but it really wasn’t necessary.

Worn with or without a belt, I know I will get a lot of wear from this make.

Thanks for reading,
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Very Cherry Wiggle Dress

So how gorgeous is this Fabric?

As soon as I saw it I imagined myself in something that made me look all glamorous 1950s housewife

It’s beautifully bright coloured, the red cherries really pop and I love the navy back ground. For me it’s the perfect fabric for something with a vintage look. It’s a lovely versatile weight so the world is your oyster in terms of creating a distinctive garment for your wardrobe.

I’m very much a beginner at this sewing business (all be it an adventurous one!). Whatever I decided to make would be the fourth thing I’d ever made. I didn’t think I was ready to tackle a dress with lots of netting underneath so I went with a wiggle dress, all while picturing myself wearing it with some big sunglasses, heels and drinking a G and T.

I hadn’t washed the fabric for the three garments I’d made previous to this because I didn’t realise how important this step is! I’m not really a patient person so this step really annoys me but if you’re going to spend your hard earned pennies on new fabric it’s really a must. This fabric was such an easy iron though, making that stage much less of a chore!

I chose to sew the Simple Sew ‘Loretta Jewel Neck Dress’. As the packet promised ‘Beginner’. I’d already made a skirt with a zip and was pretty sure I’d mastered darts so how hard could this be?!

It was a really simple pattern to follow with good basic instructions that don’t blind you with lots technical words and too many written instructions. There are two versions of the dress; one with and one without sleeves. I chose the sleeveless version.

It was quite tricky to get the interfacing around the neck and armholes to behave and stay tucked under so I sewed a line of top stitching in red around the edge. I could have stitched it down by hand but I like this little touch.

I wish I’d have been able to get a red zip from my local haberdashery. I think that would have looked really good. They only had navy or a weird green that didn’t quite go in the length I needed. I’m not massively happy with the neatness of my zip sewing and it really should be placed a bit lower but I think I might be the only one who notices.

Even on the hanger this dress fabric got some oohs and ahhs! My mum has put in an order for a skirt in the same fabric and my friend is begging me to make her the same dress!

This was a super quick make and a good dress to whizz up if you need something for a night out or special occasion. The fabric will be the perfect weight in the warmer weather to come and when it drops cooler it won’t look out of place teamed with a cute jacket or shawl.

This fabric is so comfortable to wear. It’s got a soft feel without feeling thin so I don’t feel I need to go to the trouble of lining the dress.

The pattern on this fabric does make you feel quite sassy! I feel a bit like an old movie star in it or an extra from Grease!

Thanks for reading,

Sam @this_mum_can

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PJ Bottoms

Hi everyone, this is my first blog post for Minerva!

I’m a beginner sewer, I’d like to think that I’m an adventurous beginner. I do like sewing but when it comes to making clothes they often do not fit well and usually they are way too big. I had a bit of a disaster making my first top a little while ago, so this time I thought that I would try making a pair of pyjama bottoms. I was convinced that making a pair of trousers would be easier as there is no neck band to stretch out.

I liked the look of the corduroy, checkered Fabric in a camel colour. I ordered three meters of it. I pre-washed the fabric and it dried really quickly which was a bonus, I made a mistake of drying it over the airer but not realising the raised parts would damage the fabric! Lesson learned! It’s also the first time that I’ve had to consider pattern matching.

I do have a pyjama pattern but I thought that I would use this pattern instead by Wendy Ward from the book 'beginner’s guide to sewing with knitted fabrics' as the pattern looked so easy. I cut out the pattern as per instructions but I must have accidentally cut out the short leg version as they only come three quarters of the way down my leg, which is fine for pj’s.

It was an easy pattern and it only took a few hours to make them, including cutting out the fabric, which is good as normally it can take me several days to finish a project. I added a couple of holes into my elastic on the inside as I thought they will be too big so wanted a channel to insert a cord through, if needed. They were however, a bit on the snug side so it wasn’t needed but I’m currently losing weight so it will be required in the future.

I love this fabric so much and will definitely use it again as it’s so sturdy, plus the lines on the fabric help me when I’m sewing. It doesn’t fray easily and it has a lovely texture to it which makes it feel nice and adds a bit of variety. I chose the camel colour because I already had some tartan fabric in red and camel is a colour that I wouldn’t ordinarily buy but since I started sewing, I’ve been trying new things, both in materials and in techniques and I’m constantly progressing with my sewing and learning a lot along the way. I’m not easily put off but things not going well, which I think helps enormously.

As I had too much fabric, I decided to make myself a bucket bag to keep my knitting wip’s in, I’ve never thought about making one before but it made sense as it keeps my work tidy and prevents anything accidentally happening to the delicate needles. Here is a picture of it with a pair of socks I’ve recently made.

Thanks for reading!

Sarah @ Sarah Evans Author

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