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Linen Chambray Denim Ready To Sew Jumpy Shorts

If you ask modern garment sewists what are their favorite fabric terms, I’m guessing these words might come up a lot: linen, denim, chambray and indigo. I certainly love all these dearly, both to sew and to wear. But have you ever met all these four words in the same fabric?! So imagine my excitement when Minerva offered me the opportunity to review this rare Indigo 100% Linen Chambray Denim by Robert Kaufman!
Let me tell you - this stuff is made of sewists’ dreams. I imagined how it would look and feel before I received it but the real thing turned out so much more! First of all, it’s the perfect medium shade of yarn dyed indigo - imagine the colour as a pair of well loved luxury dark wash jeans. Being 100% linen, it's also got this very subtle sheen that only linen has which really accentuates the indigo colour. As linens go, I'd say it's a mid weight - drapey enough for tops and dress, and supple enough for skirts and trousers. I especially love the crisp hand of the linen combined with the slightly bouncy drape - once you feel it in you hands you simply want to live in it!
And I really mean to live it all all summer by making this gem of a fabric into the most amazing shorts. As much as I love dresses and skirts, life with little ones involves a lot of moving around so tee+shorts are my summer uniform at the moment. You can never go wrong with a good pair of jeans shorts but sometimes the cotton denim ones can get a bit stuffy on a warm day. What can be better than having the dark wash denim look plus the breathy coolness of linen?
I took my time going through pattern options for just the right choice. I wanted something with a relaxed resort feel but still somewhat fitted. The Jumpy Ready to Sew pattern "Jumps" to my mind! Living up to the Ready to Sew design aesthetics, it is a truly unique design inspired by sarong pants that wrap and tie in the front. The ties are designed in a way that once they are done up, they cinch in the waist area comfortably. There are no zips, buttons or elastics - which means the construction is a breeze as well as the wearing! I've never seen anything similar in either sewing patterns or ready to wear. Simply genius! 
Jumpy comes in both trousers and shorts length, both with a modern and relaxed fit. I made the shorts version for the hot summers here in North America but will definitely try the trousers version next. I size down one size from my body measurements for a slimmer fit and love how it wears with just the right amount of ease on my petite frame. Oh and did I mention Jumpy comes with lovely deep slash pockets? I don't know about you but that's a must for me! Another fun detail of Jumpy is that the shorts version have a wide hem which can be worn either rolled up or down. I usually prefer it rolled up but here's the down look:
The focal point of Jumpy is definitely the bow in the front. To accentuate it I have used a lovely indigo print Cotton Lawn from Art Gallery on one side of ties and love how the lighter shades peak out of the bow for some contrast. The ties also provide some flexibility in the fit so you can wear it either mid or low waisted depending on your outfit. Here's my jumpy styled with a Victory Patterns Roxanne blouse made in the same Art Gallery voile, worn with the front half-tucked in: 
Or out:
Sewing with linen denim fabric was a treat in itself. Crisp and stable, it presses beautifully and really gives your garment a polished look. In the past I've had some linen garments that felt a bit scratchy until  they softened up in the wash. Well, the Robert Kaufman Linen Denim has kind of "up-ed" my linen game now - it is utterly soft and smooth on the skin. I pre-washed it on a regular cycle and it came out with the unique linen look with a slightly crinkled texture. I did iron it before cutting so I could get an accurate sew but I don't think I would iron it after every wash because that's really the charm of linen! 
I absolutely adore my linen denim Jumpy! I love how it adds a fun flair to my tshirts and also goes with the more feminine blouses so well. Thank you Minerva for this truly special fabric and I might just live in these dream shorts all summer long ;-)
Until next time,
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Just The Thing For A Summer Holiday

I really enjoyed making the dress for this months Minerva post. It is a little bit different from the dresses I usually make and I think it does us good sometimes to try something new. The Stretch Crepe Fabric is stunning with a gorgeous floaty feel, just the thing for a summer holiday. We need to plan ahead for these things don’t we?

The pattern I chose for this project is Kwik Sew 4206, a sundress with a high low hemline and a gathered neckline. This pattern is really easy to follow and comes together in a couple of hours. I really like the casing at the neckline as I found that once you had everything in place you could pull the gathers to achieve just the right effect for you. The fabric is easy to sew but as I mentioned it is floaty so I wouldn’t choose it for projects that require pressed in details as it would not hold the shape. Sundresses, tops, skirts and kimonos would all be ideal for this particular fabric.

So back to the dress, I chose view B of the pattern which doesn’t have the contrasting hem. I did originally intend to do the front tie with little beads on the end of each piece but as the fabric is so busy I omitted the tie altogether. I will be making this dress again however in a plain fabric and I will use the bead idea then and be sure to use a contrasting colour for the beads, that would maybe tie in nicely with view A of the pattern.

I chose size small for this pattern and the sizing is accurate except for the armholes, I found personally that they gaped so once this dress was close to finished I took them in by 2cm each side. That said I am on the small size, small busted too so that may not be the case for you. I would just recommend trying on and checking before you apply your bias binding for finishing.

The casing for the elastic at the waist gives a neat finish, in this instance I tried elastic around my waist to check the size then I stitched it together. I then slipped it over the inside of the dress and folded the casing over, then pulling it flat as I stitched the casing down taking care not to catch the elastic as I stitched. I prefer to do it this way rather than threading the elastic through which I feel can be a bit fiddly.

As the fabric is so fine I chose to make a small lining for the skirt just to feel a little more secure, this wouldn’t be necessary if you are just wearing this as a beach dress but I want a bit more life out of it than that so this ensures good coverage for everyday wear. I simply cut out two skirt pieces of lining fabric just a bit shorter than the front, hemmed it and gathered it to the inner casing. I am really pleased with this start to my summer wardrobe. Thank you Minerva for the opportunity to try out this fabric.

Dianne @ Sew, Create and Recycle

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Pattern Hacking Extravaganza

When I originally planned this dress, I only intended to use two different patterns. By the time I’d finished it, I’d used pieces from four different patterns. And not only four different patterns, but four different patterns from four different pattern companies!! If that isn’t some serious pattern hacking, I don’t know what is!

So. What patterns did I use?

Bodice, collar stand, button placket and skirt pockets - Megan Nielsen Matilda Dress

Collar, shirt pockets, cuffs and sleeve placket - Sewaholic Granville Shirt

Skirt - By Hand London Anna Dress

Sleeves - Deer and Doe Cardamome Dress

Phew! It may sound like it was quite the process, but it actually ended up being quite simple. I didn’t have to modify any of the different pattern pieces to make them work together. Perhaps it’s because I already adjusted each individual pattern to fit my particular body shape when I originally used them. I’m not sure!

I wanted long sleeves and since I’ve made two versions of the Cardamome dress I knew the sleeves fit beautifully. But since I wanted them to have cuffs and tower plackets I stole those pieces from the Granville pattern. I also pictured this dress with a pointed collar and the Matilda dress has a rounded collar. Which is why I swapped the collar pieces about. Then I had to make the shirt pockets match because it would look weird to have a pointed collar and rounded pockets!

I planned from the outset to use the Anna dress skirt because it is so glamorous and elegant. Its gored style gives it a perfect swishability. It is dramatic in all the right ways! Then I decided kinda last minute to go ahead and slap the pockets from the Matilda dress onto it because one can never have too many dresses with pockets.

And I obviously had to use the Matilda dress bodice because it fits like a dream and while I’ve made a bazillion different versions of it, I’m still not tired of it. I wear all of my Matilda dresses regularly, and still want to make some more! This was one of those patterns that definitely surprised me. I never imagined I’d love it this much. But it’s sort of my signature style at this point. Simple shirtdress with pockets and a flared skirt. What could be better?? And now that I’ve discovered that the Cardamome sleeves work perfectly on it I can make a few cold-weather appropriate versions!

Also, this Chambray Fabric was EXACTLY what I wanted when I started planning this dress. It is lightweight, presses like a dream, and is beautifully soft. Plus the color is amazing. All around, I am really excited to have this dress to wear this summer. The long sleeves can be rolled up if it’s too warm or left down on chilly evenings. And wouldn’t it be just too perfect to wear at the beach? Unfortunately I don’t have any beach vacations planned right now, but if one happens unexpectedly I’ll be prepared!

Emily @ Milly Noel

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Slinky Jersey Kielo Wrap Dress

When I saw this Fabric I knew it had to be part of my wardrobe for summer. Animal print and floral, a winning combination.
My fabric arrived and as the description stated this is a slinky fabric. Beautiful to the touch and an amazing vibrant print. I was a little nervous of how this would sew up as I had only made one stretch garment before. It washed well and extra bonus it does not crease at all. I decided to make the Kielo Wrap Dress  for my upcoming holiday. Perfect for poolside with flip flops or evening with heels and accessories.
I was so pleased that the process of cutting out the Kielo was a lot easier than anticipated. The pattern is basically two very large pattern piece and two ties. The fabric was very well behaved and didn’t move around or curl up. Also when it came to sewing up no problem at all with normal sewing foot. Just used ballpoint needle and stretch stitch.
Love the Kielo design it is so clever and flattering for most body types. An easy sew for beginners too. I only adjusted the length and stitched up sides a bit higher to close armholes.
Wearing this fabric is lovely, it feels really luxurious but breathable and I am so pleased with the finished garment. 
Thanks for reading,
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Cocoon Dress

Hello, I’m very excited to have to joined the Minerva Makers team. This is my first blog post, apologies if I ramble. Quick bit about me, having my daughter 4 years ago reawakened my creative side, it’s strange what happens with little sleep and a bit of messy play. Anyway, I started doing a bit of sewing, mainly cushion covers and this my first attempt at making an item of clothing since school.

When my Viscose Challis Fabric in pink arrived I loved the feel, there were times when working with it I didn’t love it quite so much, when it stretched/moved when trying to cut it, there were times it nearly went in the bin, but I’m glad I kept going as the final piece feels and looks gorgeous.

I decided to make Portia Lawrie’s no pattern Cocoon dress that was featured in Simply Sewing magazine issue fifty-three. 

In my head I thought no pattern would mean simple and I’d be finished in a couple of hours. I daresay to someone that’s made a dress more recently than 25 years ago it is relatively straight forward and if you have a dedicated sewing area and not the breakfast bar you have to clear of welded on weetabix before you can set-up, it probably wouldn’t take you the three weeks (not three solid weeks, snatched time here and there) it took me!

The first part was simple enough, cutting out four rectangles to make the body. Each rectangle was 1m in length and one quarter of your bust measurement plus 6cm. Next a 16cm wide strip cut across the length of the fabric for the neckband. Then, finally two 16x60cm rectangles for the sleeves. 

I used a 1.5cm seam allowance unless otherwise stated.

I started with the body of the dress, sewing together two of the large rectangles along the 1m edge, pressed the seam and finished the seam allowance. 

I had planned to finish the seams with a zigzag stitch but after managing to sew the seam allowance to the main part of the fabric, I unpicked and opted for pinking shears. This was then repeated for the other two large rectangles, creating a large front and back piece. I finished the raw edges with a narrow hem.

Taking the front piece, using the seam as the centre point, I marked on my neckline, 18cm wide (9cm either side of the seam) and 20cm deep.

Next, I prepared the neckband, pressing it in half length ways with wrong sides facing and then folding it back on itself to form a V. This was laid on top of the front piece and lined up with the neckline markings. 

Once happy with position, I pinned it in the folded position and pressed the folded base of the V. I then cut along the pressed fold and flipped the raw-edge side over, so that both outsides of the V now had raw-edges. I lined up the bottom edges of the strips, pinned and cut away the excess.

I then enclosed the raw edges on the sides and joined the two pieces at the base with tacking stitches 5mm from the raw edge. This was then placed on top of the front piece and pinned into position before carefully tracing around the outer edge of the neck band. I cut off the excess neckband along the top.

I then unpinned the neckband from the front piece and marked a line 1cm inside the marked outer edge. I then sewed a line of tacking stiches along this line, before drawing another line 1cm inside the stitching and cutting along this line to form the neck opening. I then snipped the corners of the opening up to but not through the tacking stitches.

Next was the part I found the trickiest, attaching the neckband. I laid the neckband faceup with the bottom of the V furthest away, then with right sides together I pinned the base of the neckline on the front piece to the base of the neckband in a centred position. 

Then moved the left side of the neckline opening until it aligned with the long edge of the neckband and pinned in place. This was then repeated on the right side.

Starting on the left side of the neckline I then sewed 1mm to the left of the tacking stiches, right round the neckline, pivoting at the corners, to attach the neckband in one pass.

I then pressed the whole garment, the seam allowances outwards and topstitched in place from the right side, close to the seamline.

I then laid the front and back sections right sides together and pinned before marking 4cm from the top edge of the garment and cutting up from this point to the inner edges of the neckband to form the shoulder slope.

I finished the back of the neck by cutting a slight curve and enclosing the raw edge with double-folded bias tape. Then I joined the front and back pieces together along the shoulders before finishing the seam allowances (with pinking shears), pressing them to the back and topstitching in place from the right side.

Next, I needed to attach the sleeves, which was actually a lot easier than I expected after the neckband. I pressed the sleeve piece in half lengthwise, then with right sides facing aligned the raw edges and centred it over the shoulder seam before stitching in place with a 5mm seam allowance. Pressed the seam allowance to the inside of the sleeve and finished. I repeated for the other sleeve.

Finally starting at the sleeve, I sewed the garment together in a continuous line with a 1cm seam allowance, curving the stitching under the arm on both sides. Pressed and finished the seam allowance. Then lastly, I folded under, pressed and stitched a double hem.

I really wasn’t expecting the finished dress to look that great and was just going to mark it down to a learning experience but when I did put it on, it looked and felt great. 

Also looks good dressed down with black tights. 

I had to add a stitch at the V of the neckband as it gapped a bit but this is a common problem I have with V-necks. So glad I kept going and the final seal of approval was my four-year-old saying she wants me to make her the same!

Until next time x

Amanda @sew_cute_by_amanda

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The Peggy Pinafore by Pipe Dream Patterns

This month I chose this amazing floral corded Jacquard Fabric which I fell in love with as soon as I saw it. It is so colourful and pretty and the texture is amazing. The wrong side is nice and soft like a brushed cotton and the fabric has a nice weightiness to it, it sews very easily and barely seems to fray. I chose to make the Peggy Pinafore by Pipe Dream Patterns as jacquard was one of the recommended fabric and I had it on my Make 9 2019 which was posted on Instagram in early January.

After realising how soft the inside of the fabric is I decided to not bother with lining the bodice and used bias binding instead. I made a lovely big roll of this binding and added it to the neckline and armscye after cutting off the seam allowance. In hindsight this was probably a waste of time as a t shirt is needed under the pinafore as it is very low cut and therefore I don't get to feel the inside much at all while wearing it. The fabric sewed nicely and the bodice was made rather quickly. I sewed the binding on right sides together and pressed it up and then over the fabric edge and then sewed the underside by sewing in the ditch from the right side. All loose edges I just used my pinking shears as I didn't notice any fraying while handling this beautiful fabric.

The skirt has these lovely pleat detail which I pressed with a cloth on top (I really need to buy a proper press cloth) to protect the fabric from melting. I also sewed the top 2 inches of the pleats up to help keep the lovely shape of the skirt. The pinafore is then finished with a white open ended zip, the zip I bought ended up being a few inches too long so I chopped a bit off the top and then turned a bit under so that when it is sewn the zip is secure and cannot come off and it is not seen from the outside. The hem was then just a simple double turned hem which I secured with clips and then it was all done, yippee.

I am so happy that the zip is on the front as it means I can get dressed while sitting and this is so much easier on my body this way. I love the fit on the pinafore and feel very pretty while wearing this, I styled it with this Friday pattern company Sunny Tee and the colours match wonderfully. I have about half a metre of this gorgeous fabric left and hope I can make a lovely twirly skirt for my daughter who also loves this fabric and also she does love to match with me :) and with this fabric even though I am housebound it feels like spring in here and it makes me smile, March also happens to be my birthday month so this feels like a special treat so thank you Minerva for allowing me this chance and gifting me this beautiful fabric.

Thanks for reading,

Michelle @michebemason

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Rebel Scum Nora

Hi guys I'm back again with what is easily my most favourite guest blog so far... My Rebel Scum Tilly and the Buttons Nora!

When I requested this Jersey Fabric I had no idea what I was going to make with it, I wasn't sure how heavy it was going to be so I was torn between a full-blown hoodie and a more lightweight t shirt kind of thing, when it arrived I was blown away by the colours. I had requested the khaki colour way and they just pop so much more in person and I was surprised by how lightweight and soft the fabric felt. I racked my brains trying to think of what I could make with it, the only thing I could really compare it to was this throw over baggy yoga top I'd seen once so instantly that was the kind of thing I wanted to make. I thought as the weather is changing it was a good idea to make something that could be layered or worn on its own and that's how I landed on the idea of a different variation of the Nora top.

For the top I went with the cropped and stepped hem, the short sleeves and the round neckline. When I got to the hemming stage after overlocking the raw edge of the sleeves I decided that I liked the relaxed look and just left them unhemmed instead, it just fit in perfectly with the overall relaxed, casual look I was going for. The thing I love most about this top is that I can wear it with leggings, shorts or jeans and it'll look just great.

This fabric is super easy to work with. Because it's a knit fabric you'll need the usual ballpoint pins and needles. I used my rotary cutter to cut the pieces out but it's a nice stable fabric so if you took your time and had sharp scissors then I think you'd be able to cut it with them too. I really believe the Nora top is a great pattern for people that want to learn how to sew with knit fabrics. Tilly has such a great way of explaining how to work with knits and if you want even more information then Tilly's book Stretch is an absolute fountain of knowledge!

I decided fairly early on that I wanted it to have a unique feature on it and I decided that I was going to add a heat transfer vinyl design of some sort across the chest. I toyed with the idea of having one on the sleeve too but until it was finished I just didn't know what kind of space I was going to have available. I was sure that it needed some sort of slogan across the chest and after thinking it through long and hard I just had to go with the iconic phrase from Star Wars... Rebel Scum... and after thinking it through long and hard I just knew that if I had the space then I needed to have the Rebels logo on the sleeve!

I have a Cricut machine which can cut heat transfer vinyl quickly and easily but you really don't need anything fancy to add heat transfer vinyl to your projects, you just need the heat transfer vinyl, an iron, some greaseproof paper, a fluffy towel and a solid surface that you can press on (an ironing board just won't do the job). You can use your computer to do any lettering and you can find a number of designs on the internet that you can print then draw on the glue side of the vinyl. If you do it this way then you need to make sure that you flip your image/text over so that it's mirrored when you draw it and when you cut it out you need to cut inside any pen lines so that your finished pieces have no ink on them. Because when you put it on your chosen item the ink could transfer and stain the fabric. Once you've got your design cut out you just press it into place using the directions from the manufacturer, for my top I used HappyFlex Silver from HappyFabric. It's easy to tell the right side from the wrong side because the right side has a shiny plastic carrier sheet which is removed after your design is pressed into place and the wrong side is duller which you can see in the photo above, the piece on the top is the right side up and the piece on the bottom is wrong side up.

I hope this post has inspired you to add that extra bit of flair to your makes! Hopefully I'll be back soon to share another project with you guys!

Lily @ Just a Lil Bit Crafty

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Bohemian Inspired Outfits

I’ve been dreaming up all the bohemian inspired outfits, especially dresses! I realized there is a lack of them in my wardrobe which is so sad because they are the easiest thing to wear in the summer. Your whole outfit is put together in one piece! With that being said, when I saw this lovely paisley print Cotton Lawn Fabric, I instantly knew it would be the perfect bohemian look I was going for.

I was rummaging through my patterns and landed on the Roscoe Blouse/Dress by True Bias. Everything about it screams boho chic! I’ve made this pattern a couple of times in different blouse variations, but not yet in dress form so it was meant to be! True Bias creates the best patterns from construction to instruction - it’s perfect for any level sewer!

The fabric I’m working with is perfectly lightweight to flow and drape with the structure of the pattern. Yet it could work for a super cool vintage look using the Perkins Shirt Dress pattern by Ensemble Patterns. I was so close to making this instead! Or some fun Spring Shorts by Peppermint Magazine with added tassel fringe on the bottom hem. The possibilities are endless!! I just know that my dress is going to be so breathable during the summer! And even though it’s lightweight, it will still be heavy enough to help keep it from flying around everywhere with a small gust of wind! (These are things you think about when it’s happened to you - Haha.) 

The fabric color is “Grey” but the burnt red in it is such a luscious pop of color. I can’t get over the detail and intricacy of the design of the print. It’s somehow bold and subtle all at the same time. I just keep picturing wearing this at the beach with some sandals and a basket bag. It would even be cute for a casual date night with some gladiator sandals. But until the weather fully permits it here, tights and booties will do.

Here are some of my measurements and fit adjustments to get the exact fit I wanted. :)

My Measurements:

Height: 5’3”

Full Bust: 36”

Hips: 31”

Pattern Adjustments:

  • Shortened bodice by 3 inches.

  • Shortened ruffle by 1 inch.

  • I made my arm band hem casing the largest size.

  • I used braided trim from my stash for neck ties.

I thought the braided look for my neck ties would add even more to what I was going for. I found some tassels in my craft stash that I just attached instead of making fabric ones! I’m not really sure where my cord came from but Minerva has some available here. :)

Adding a special trim for the neckties just brings your garment to the next level! I have a tendency to always stick to how the pattern is written and not allowing my creativity to let loose. I know this doesn’t seem like a big deal but finding little details to add can really make a garment your own and more special. That’s something I’m focusing on in 2019. What is something special is I can add or change to make my garments more “me” and the “next level”?

I highly recommend this beautiful fabric for your next project. There are multiple choices for colors and it is completely on trend for Spring of 2019. I’m always super impressed with shipping time since I live in Springfield, MO! Do yourself a favor and order some today!!

Thanks for reading,

Courtney @courtney_jeanshaw

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The Stripey Parachute Dress Vogue V1585

Mexico Woven Stripe Fabric

The fuchsia colourway of this Mexico woven stripe Fabric caught my eye, stopped me dead in my tracks, with the vibrant stripes. It is 60” wide with the stripe going down the straight grain. Its 100% polyester making it an easy care fabric (always a win/win in my bookI am, broadly speaking, a low maintenance kind of person and favour easy care garments).

The fabric is a medium weight canvas type. It is light enough to make apparel with and works well for styles that benefit from a stable fabric. You can easily get lost in the stripes – they are that lovely! So much that I even tried to stripe match!

Vogue Designer Rachel Comey V1585

I love Rachel Comey designs and am wondering why it ever took me so long to sew them despite a few languishing in my sewing pattern collection for years. I always buy her styles – they have a fun sense of style that also looks comfortable.

Vogue V1585 is a loose-fitting pullover dress that has gathers, pockets, and shaped hemline. The pattern picture used a seersucker stripe fabric and so I thought the stripe would be a good companion to the pattern. I’d like to think it was a good call.

The pattern uses A LOT of fabric. I used up all 4 meters that I ordered without a scrap to spare so keep that in mind. The curved band over the front is a great feature that draws the eye. This is a standout feature for me. I used a ribbon trim instead of a bias cut strip. This was borne out of necessity as I didn’t have enough fabric to cut out this very long piece on a bias. As mentioned earlier – this style requires a lot of fabric especially if you are trying match your stripes.

Sewing Construction Details

I used pink silk habotai for the neck band binding for a touch of luxury. The instructions are quite clear and easy to follow on this pattern. I rarely read patterns except for when I come across a very unique design like this one. The pockets are very deep and the weighting down is a neat feature that ensures that the style is in keeping with the pattern envelope.

I sewed size Small and for a loose fitting dress it’s a good fit. The bra is visible on the armhole – looking at the design pictures this looks intentional. Personally I rarely wear bras anyway so I do not mind. Since it has no closures – it sews up quite quick.

Verdict

Ridiculously comfortable and practical on account of those deep - deep pockets. I find myself constantly contemplating other fabric types to use for this unusual style – this sand washed linen would be perfect especially in navy. Its been added to my “Must make again list”. With 14 colourways there is a lot of choice and a part of me wishes I had been bold enough to use a different colourway for the gathered section. Next time!

Style notes

I like Rachel Comey’s eccentric but beautiful style aesthetic. I kept it simple with my sandals and a bracelet. This fabric is so fun and perfect for summer. Like I said before – change this up by sewing with a solid navy or khaki linen and you easily have a classy but uniquely chic dress.

Thanks for stopping by!

You can find me dancing on my YouTube channel or my blog saturdaynightstitch.com.

Hila

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Pass It On

I think the only feeling greater than making, be it to stitch, crochet, knit or other is to actually teach someone to do so. “Give a man a fish…, teach a man to fish….” It’s the same analogy. Bestowing a skill onto the next generation is a gift and one we shouldn’t allow to pass us by. Life is busy, every day so taking a little time to interact in a new way will be a rewarding experience for everyone. Self taught, I discovered all of my crafts later in life. I can only imagine how advanced I could be now, had I of been given an earlier opportunity. 

Children thrive on knowledge. They learn fast and will come to realise if a new hobby is right for them. From my own experience, teaching my children to crochet, I admit it didn’t start too well. My son was happy to ponder through the beginnings of a granny square whilst my daughter, the perfectionist that she is, found it very hard to grasp the hook, the yarn and keep calm all at the same time. There was a melt down, there was the granny square that resembled a fish, some dropped/gained stitches here and there, yet somewhere along the line, a passion was born. When I think back to those early days, it’s remarkable to see the varied projects my children have gone on to accomplish. Their confidence has allowed them to improve. 

My daughter is 100% independent. She is a maker and goodness knows, she has her own mind! Having finished her first crochet blanket at just 9 years old, I decided to teach her a few sewing basics. A walk in the park it wasn’t, however the creative spark within allowed her to express herself how she wanted, in her own way. If that’s not art, I don’t know what is. Driven and focussed she tackles all sorts of mini projects from brooches to Christmas tree ornaments, teddies to bags. My mini me.

Vicki, made my daughter the happiest kid on the planet, agreeing to Amelie’s wish to join in and be a ‘Minerva Maker’ for the day! The excitement in her eyes while picking out her materials was a picture. Amelie came up with a little wish list and I was instructed not to open her package, should it arrive when she wasn’t home. The thrill of planning a project is real!

The wish list:

Ribbon Bundle Assortment

4oz Washed Denim Fabric (0.50mt)

Impex Toy Eyes - Amber

Fabric Scrap bag

King Cole Smooth Yarn -1624 Shrimp

Prym Toy Filling

Christmas came early!

Learning a skill through the process itself is how we learn best. It’s being taught the mundane basics albeit in disguise. My daughter quickly found that ironing was not her thing but that didn’t stop her thrive to create. 

With a teddy in mind, she set her sights on a hand embroidered face. Embroidery isn’t a skill I am all that confident with so I could offer little support in that area. That was O.K because what I found is that when you are a kid, you are free. There’s little fear, just the here and now. From some simple straight stitches in various directions/colours, a face began to form. Amelie’s unique style was coming through. Proving once more that when we rid ourselves of perfection, imagination can evolve. When you think about it, you can actually draw with thread. A set of amber safety eyes completed his character.

After completing the front of her teddy, Amelie cut a duplicate piece of denim for the back. ‘Right sides together’ it was time to stitch, remembering to leave a gap to turn him the right way out. Amelie turned the machine speed down to its slowest setting to help her stitch the curved edge neatly.

Stuffing! Now that was fun.

Stitching the opening closed and adding pom pom ears was the final step.

Skills learnt:

-Ironing is not fun and the iron does get very hot. Patience required!

-Be imaginative.

-Right sides together is important.

-Go as slow as you need to. 

-Clip curves before turning.

The scrap bag contained many fabric pieces in similar sizes, the perfect shape for quilting in fact. A slightly daunting idea at first, I was able to assure my little maker that it’s a repetitive process that’s really easy once you know how. The thrill came in picking the prints.

Skills learnt

-Straight edges are important.

-Press seams open between sewing.

-Perseverance

It turned out to be a walk in the park. Only the ironing was still proving a challenge. Convinced that this was going to be 100% her work, I was restricted from helping out.

The quilt was destined to become a cushion. The bag of scraps also offered a larger piece of a soft wool which Amelie decided would become the back of her cushion.

Here’s what she did:

  1. Quilt rectangles 4 across, 4 down. 
  2. Fold one row over so that right sides are together. Press in place. Neaten this raw edge as this will be the opening where you will insert the cushion.
  3. Cut a backing piece of fabric the same size as the folded fabric (so minus the overlap). Neaten one edge. Layer on top of the quilt, right sides together, insert the neatened edge of the backing fabric between the quilt front and the fold. Use pins to help keep your layers in place. 
  4. Serge around the 3 edges. Not the folded edge. 
  5. Turn right side out and voila! 

That feeling of self pride.

Making is a way to express. A creative relief for us all and one we should grasp with both hands. Brighten your home with the little people in your life, make cherished, unique gifts for loved ones and fond memories in unison.

The ‘scrap bag’ was a treasure trove of goodness. Who’d think you could make something so fun from leftovers. Child or adult, the not knowing of what’s in that bag is the most exciting part! The fact that the rectangles were pre-cut, made it all the more awesome. Finally, the ribbons became a pretty, plaited bracelet. 

Amelie: 

"Out of the things that Minerva sent me, I made a cushion, a teddy and a bracelet. 

I used the bag of scraps to make the cushion. I made it with rectangular pieces of fabric which I quilted together. For the back I used a big piece of wool fabric which was also in the bag of scraps.

I made a bracelet with satin ribbons. I made the bracelet by plaiting three pieces of ribbon together, so that they were long enough to make a double wrap around bracelet.

To make the teddy I first did the embroidery on some blue denim. 

After that I put in the eyes. Then I used the blue denim again for the back of the teddy, then I stuffed it. I made pom poms out of the wool for the ears on the teddy, that was my favourite part. I chose the shrimp coloured wool because I thought it would look good with the denim. 

Thanks very much for sending me everything on my wish list."

The one and only amazing Amelie!!!!


Paper and scissors are fun but so are a needle and thread.

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