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Five Reasons To Sew This Floral Fabric

Say hello to a swishy girlie knit that’s perfect for making right now…

I was thrilled to be asked to review this gorgeous floral knitted Velvet Fabric - it has stretch, a pretty print and a great handle. The fabric arrived in the post and I started to scroll through a range of dressmaking patterns perfect for just knitted fabrics which would be perfect for everyday wear. Also, as a new Mummy I wanted a dress I could nurse in but also wanted a little bit of prettiness in my post Maternity wear wardrobe. And what could be more prettier than a Spring floral?

I choose New Look 6301 and made version A using just under 2 metres of fabric. I loved the faux wrap front with the pleated detail into the side seam. The simplicity of the dress was perfect to show off the drape and print of the floral fabric. It has no fastenings and a little 70s style with the wrap detail.

The Floral Print  

Just look at that print! I love a floral. This mid blue background has a small ‘easy-to-pattern match’ white floral. I have been wearing it for the last couple of weeks in this early Spring weather and it feels perfect for warmer days. The print is great worn with thick navy tights and a coat or with nude tights and a lighter jacket.

That Drape

I love a swooshy dress and I choose this skirt pattern to add extra fullness to my wrap dress. The drape of the velour knit made the fabric easy to wear and I love how the light falls on the print. It felt so comfy and I felt so feminine in the fabric.

It’s Easy To Sew

If you want a quick sew that looks dressed up, this is the fabric. I stitched this fabric in two evenings using a size 90 needle and a zigzag stitch. I used ribbon to stablise the shoulder seams and give a smooth finish. The faux wrap dress style fitted without any adjustments. The fabric has a 25% stretch which I found easy for fitting, especially after having a baby four months ago my body is changing and this fabric with it’s stretch has been fabulous.

It Stretches And Recovers

It’s stretchy but doesn’t go baggy and I’ve worn it and washed it a few times. It has been fabulous for feeding baby and also feel so lady-like and dressed up. The technical back is a brushed grey and the fabric doesn’t go saggy after stretching, it just recovers and I love that!

It’s So Soft

The velour feels so gorgeous and soft, velvety and luxurious. The pile had a low brush and a low shed when cutting out so very little mess. I have given it a little light iron on the cuffs and hem but it doesn’t crease and dries after washing super quick. It does have a nap and I made sure that this was the same way on all pattern pieces. Working with this fabric was lovely to touch and my sewing machine didn’t get all fluffed up like sewing velvet.

I loved reviewing this fabric and it ticked all the boxes for a Spring dress; it’s not too heavy and Winter-like and not too floaty and chilly for this time of year. I think I might need to find another dress pattern to make another one.Thank-you Minerva for gifting me the fabric in return for an honest review.

Samantha writes a creative craft blog www.crafternoonteas.com and lives in Derbyshire, UK with her young family.

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Business or Pleather

Have you ever held a beautifully textured piece of faux leather in your hands and thought, “I would not be able to sew this.”? No? Just me? Well, if you've ever doubted, I'm proof that you can (and should)!

Allow me to introduce the Cut Out Flowers Faux Leather in the shade “beige”. ( I call it “blush”, but I think both terms are accurate.)

I chose to make the McCall's 7100 bomber jacket; I love the juxtaposition of romantic texture and colour with a sporty silhouette. Its the perfect statement layer, from jeans and a tee to a 1970's Joseph Ribkoff maxi dress.

Here's how construction went down.

I asked a few sewists for tips on faux leather, and the wonderful Brittani of Untitled Thoughts (speaking of blush pleather jackets, she has a gorgeous one you can read all about on the Minerva Crafts Blog!) answered with some good ones.

First, I put scotch tape around my sewing machine foot, so the pleather wouldn't get stuck or caught on it. A teflon foot is apparently great for this type of thing, but I do not have one.

Second, I used a denim needle. This fabric has great body and no weave, so you need a heavy-duty needle.

Third, I set my stitch length a tiny bit longer than usual, and decreased my tension very slightly. I did a few test runs to find the right combination, and I recommend doing that as each machine may handle a bit differently.

Fourth, I used clips instead of pins, because the holes you make in pleather are... forever. (Related to this, I turned my speed down substantially to try to avoid unpicking.) I was able to easily press this fabric from the wrong side with a press cloth. Again, test and be sure!

Fifth, this special fabric has partially cut out petals that want to lift as the material moves. I used a regular old white glue stick to tack them down occasionally while stitching from the outside (Top-stitching). When I stitched from the wrong side, it was smooth sailing and I didn't even notice the diffrence in texture.

I did make adjustments to the pattern. I added 3 inches to the sleeve length and I lined the entire thing. I think faux leather usually needs a lining, but especially with the cut-outs. There is a tutorial for doing this on the McCall's Patterns blog. I followed parts of that, and made my own way for other parts. I also skipped the pockets. I'm sorry, dear sewists. They just didn't look right to me on this version.

For the lining, I followed the instructions for the jacket minus the pockets and front facing.

Next, I sewed the shell minus the pockets and front facing.

Then I put the lining inside the shell, wrong sides together, and attached the sleeve cuff as per the instructions. Originally, I had planned to top-stitch the entire garment, but I decided against it when I saw how the petals lift and create such beautiful shape. (The only place I top-stitched was around the neckband.)

I did not use the front facing pattern piece, opting instead to attach the lining to the front bottom band and to the inside of the zipper.

I would highly recommend this pattern (originally unlined) as a very simple sew and a really nice little jacket.

With the tips above, this fabric was awesome to work with and I'm really thankful for the new sewing experience. So, maybe now you're thinking “If she can make it, I can!”

I'll leave you with that, and a few more photos, until next time. :)

Thanks for reading,

Cortney @s.is.for.sew

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One Skirt Three Ways Using Simplicity 8459

My name is Q, and I'm back on the Minerva Crafters Blog today sharing this super cute leather skirt. I enjoyed creating this blog post! I mixed my leather skirt with a few ready to wear pieces in my closet and styled my new mini skirt in three different ways. I'm excited to share this blog post with you and I hope you enjoy it.

Fabric:

I received 2 yards of this heavy woven non-stretch Cobra Skin Faux Leather Fabric. I initially planned to use the leather fabric to create a moto jacket, but I did not have enough and did not want to risk it. So I decided to make a mini skirt instead, and I'm happy I did. I have fabric left and plan on making another skirt, a waist bag, and a foldover purse.

Pattern and Modifications:

To create this mini skirt I used the Simplicity 8459 Pattern View C. This wrap skirt pattern comes in a variety of styles including buckle closure in two lengths, mini with zip front, or longer with asymmetrical hem. I love this skirt and the added detail of the zipper. I cut a size 12 and did not make any modifications to the fitting. This was surprising since I usually have to make adjustments around my waist. However, this skirt fit perfectly!

This pattern is beginner friendly and came together quickly with a few techniques. I used a 7'' invisible zipper, an 18'' gold decorative zipper, created darts, and hemmed the skirt using a blind hem stitch.

Styled:

Now to the fun stuff! Styling. For this mini skirt, I decided to style it in three different ways. Pinterest, like most times, was my inspiration. As soon as I looked up mini skirts, I found several pictures with multiple styling options. I loved them all so much that I decided to share my top three looks for this blog post. Besides, I found the different styling options to be helpful. It allowed me to go through my closet and mix and match garments. If you haven’t tried this, you should. Ok, now let’s talk about the look.

Look 1:

For this look, I wore a mustard sweater, tights, booties, and a velvet purse. I would wear this look during the Fall and Winter season.

Look 2:

For this semi-dressy look, I wore a grey T-shirt, peep-toe booties, a Panama hat, and a green velvet purse. I would wear this look during the Spring and Summer season.

Look 3:

For this casual look, I wore a gingham black and white top, white converses, and black velvet purse. I could wear this look all year and could change the gingham top with a denim button down.

This was a fun and simple project, and I hope you found it helpful. I have already worn Look 1 and cannot wait to wear Looks 2 and 3. Leave a comment and let me know which look is your favorite. I love them all and have the hardest time choosing.

Thanks, Minerva for the amazing faux leather fabric and thank you for reading! Until next, time Happy Sewing!

@moore_2q_style

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5 Tips On Working With Corduroy

Every time I run my hands across the soft texture of corduroy, it brings me back to childhood. I’m taken back to my messy backyard, racing bikes down the street, and yelling for cars to stop at my first lemonade stand with my best friend at the time, Britany.

Since those days, I haven’t spent much time in corduroy. The fabric has gone the way of my Tamagotchi and beloved Furby- not unloved…. but somehow forgotten. That is until I was reunited with this buttery Cord Fabric at Minerva.

The thing that is incredible about corduroy is it’s durability and charm. It’s vertical lines create beautiful details in the finished piece and make it incredibly simple to find the grainline if you are a beginner sewist.

When I first got my hands on this corduroy, I wanted to make some pants from it just like the ones I lived in a child. I did however, change the fit slightly to create a more grown up silhouette. I opted for a wide leg trouser design and immediately went to work.

Working with corduroy is relatively straightforward but can be made even easier with a few small tweaks. Here’s a few to keep in mind:

Tip #1 Use More Sewing Pins To Keep The Fabric From Shifting

Since Corduroy tends to shift as you sew, be sure to pin more often than usual. This will keep your pattern pieces from sliding and shifting as you assemble your project and make sure it comes out the way you intended. For example, if you usually pin every four to six inches, place a pin every inch to be sure your corduroy never slides out of place.

Tip #2 Be Mindful When Laying Your Pattern Pieces

Corduroy has what’s known as “nap” meaning it looks different from different directions. Just like velvet, when you run your hand across the fabric in one direction, the fibers will follow and appear to be another color. When you run your hand in the opposite direction, the hue and look of the fabric can change completely. Be sure you lay your pattern pieces in the same direction so your finished garment has a uniform look when you are done. To make this extra simple, most patterns have a “with nap” pattern placement layout for you to follow along and make the process extra simple.

Tip #3 Avoid Bulk Whenever Possible

Fabrics with a thick pile are famous for being frustrating when it comes to thick seam allowances and darts. When working with corduroy (or any other thick fabric), it doesn’t take many layers before the seams become stiff and inflexible. To avoid bulk, trim your seam allowances whenever possible, clip inside curves so your pattern pieces have the ability to lay flat, and use lightweight facings and linings rather than self-facing options.

Tip #4 Finish All Raw Edges

Corduroy has the tendency to unravel and fray if the seams are left unfinished. Especially since we will be trimming the interior seam allowances to reduce bulk, finishing every seam is especially important in keeping your garment intact and looking polished. One simple option is to finish each piece with a serger. If you don’t have a serger, a simple zig-zag stitch along the edge of your fabric will do. Keep your stitch width wide and your stitch length close together to create a more professional looking finish.

Tip #5 Start With Quality Fabric

If you are going to invest your time, expertise, and love into creating a project, starting with a quality fabric is essential to making a finished piece you can be truly proud of. Whenever possible, choose an all-cotton corduroy rather than a polyester blend. The polyester fibers tend to break down over time in the wash and create pills (those tiny balls that float on the top of your fabric.) If you are unsure of the fabric quality, try scratching it with your nail. If it raises a powdery substance or causes immediate discoloration, move on.

I hope you found these tips useful in working with corduroy! It is such a beautiful fabric that is so versatile and comfortable for everyday wear. I know I’ll be wearing these wide leg trousers for years to come.

Thanks for reading,

Lisa @ Creative Fashion Blog

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Crepe Jersey Wrap Dress

Hello everyone and hope you are all fine! I am so happy to be guest posting here again!

Today I am going to write about one of my dream dresses. I fell in love with this one when I first saw the pattern. I know that there are a lot of patterns for wrap dresses out there but I just felt that this one was made for me!

So, the pattern I am talking about is pattern #123A from Burda Style magazine, issue 10.2011 (I bought it as a pdf pattern through their website) and I chose to sew it with this Crepe Jersey Fabric in burgundy colour from Minerva.

As for the process, I washed the fabric, iron pressed it and then cut it. It’s a long dress so I had to be very careful when cutting the pieces. The only alteration I made is that I cut a different piece for the flounce while the instructions were mentioning to cut the right front piece with the flounce as a whole piece.

I have to admit that this flounce detail is what I most love in this dress!!!

If you decide to sew this pattern please be careful to choose a fabric with two “good” sides just like this one I used so this flounce seems perfect!

Another detail that I really love is the invisible zippers on sleeves! I find it so elegant! I inserted both of them before attaching the sleeves on the bodice.

Overall, I love everything on this dress and I think that this fabric matched really well with this pattern! I could easily imagine it in a deep blue too!

Thank you so much for reading! I would be glad to read your thoughts about it!

Until next time,

Happy Sewing !

Olympia @my_lovemade_wardrobe

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Sybil Illusion Skirt by Love Notions

I wear a lot of skirts and dresses in my everyday life. I'm always on the lookout for a new pattern that will work for daily life.
Of course, knit fabrics make excellent skirts for being comfortable every day and all day. The check Ponte Roma Fabric from Minerva is a wonderful fabric for a skirt.
The fabric is thick enough for modesty. It's nice to feel comfortable with the weight of a fabric. It also drapes well. I could see it being used for some beautiful pants or trousers as well. It has a smooth hand and good recovery. Since it's quite stable, there's no curling when cutting. It makes it easy to lay out and cut.
One of my favorite parts of the fabric is its print. The black and white checks are just the right size. They're not overpowering or overly flashy for something you're wearing on the bottom. Plus, they can be a basic without being boring. This made it an ideal fabric for someone like me. I want to increase the amount of mix and match clothing items in my closet, but I tend to be drawn towards more flashy looks instead of plain neutrals.
I chose to pair the check Ponte Roma with the Sybil Illusion Skirt by Love Notions. It's one of my all-time favorite patterns. I don't often make a pattern more than once or twice, but I have at least half a dozen Sybil Illusion skirts in my wardrobe.
The reason I like it so well is because of the pattern's versatility. There are seven styles included. Each style also comes with knee and midi lengths. You can also add a control top or inseam pockets. Just as most seamstresses, I adore pockets. They're a great way to use up the fun fat quarters I pick up at quilt shops without any plan. 
The Ponte Roma was a great choice for the pleated version in a midi length. It flows well but holds the pleats nicely. I find some fabrics don't work with inseam pockets because they're so thin the pockets appear too bulky. Not the case with this check fabric. The pockets blend in seamlessly without added bulk. No need to accentuate hips in an unattractive way!
The only issue I find with the pattern is the length indicated for cutting elastic, if you choose to use it. It's recommended for heavier fabrics to prevent the skirt from falling. However, the pattern directs you to cut the elastic one inch smaller than the waistband. I find this way too tight. For example, on a size medium, the waistband is 13" on the fold. For a 30.5" waist, 25" elastic is too tight. I prefer to increase the length for comfort. My measurements are 30.5" waist and 39" hips. I made a medium. 
I've received a number of compliments on this skirt, and it has already gone on heavy rotation. The black and white pair treat with any solid top in my closet, so it's endlessly versatile as well as cozy. 
Thanks for reading,
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Is It Summer Yet??

Hi Minerva Makers!

Today I’m sending some sunshine your way! Maybe you are planning your summer wardrobe in your head or maybe you have a tropical vacation planned; either way I’m here to tempt you and share some warm weather fashion inspiration.
I never worked with Double Gauze Fabric before but it sounded absolutely perfect for my island life here in beautiful and sunny Barbados, so I chose this tie dye one to have a go. I was right, very suitable for warm weather; it’s breezy, cool and very comfortable to wear. Mine is in the navy colourway but it’s also available in pink and a lighter blue, both stunning!
I knew I wanted a very ‘easy to throw on’ type of dress and I opted for the Tessuti Fabrics Bondi dress. It’s a sleeveless shift style dress with a high neckline, cut away armholes, bust darts, side pockets, center front/back seam and back yoke with neck opening. It also features hem facings and a fringed edge. I made size 12 with two alterations. I shortened the dress by 3 inches and I used the shoulder length of the size 8 since the arms are super low.
I could not be happier with the pattern and fabric pairing. The recommended fabrics were medium weight linen or linen blend, cotton, medium weight silk or silk blend. Double gauze is interesting to say the least. It’s constructed from two layers of fabric tacked together and you can easily pull them apart if you wanted to. The front layer is very fine and soft, and the back layer is ever so slightly heavier with a more open weave. The front layer is the patterned tie dye piece while the back layer is a solid cream colour. It would probably be really cool to play around with the two different colours and textures but I really just wanted to show off the tie dye layer.
I sewed the dress with both layers together as one fabric until I got to the hem. Because the back layer has a more open and thick weave, I pulled that layer off and attached only the tie dye layer as the edging to be frayed. It frayed with absolutely no issues and I really love that feature on this dress. I made sure to serge all my seams on the dress because the back layer tends to fray easily since it has a more open weave. The pattern does call for you to serge your seams anyway and the neck and arms are bias bound. You cut the bias strips from your fabric as well. For this part, I just left the layers together as one and it worked beautifully. The inside of the dress is very neat and it’s cool how it’s all in the cream colour. Almost looks like a different dress on the inside.
Now that I’ve finally sewn with double gauze, my number one recommendation is a shift dress. The super soft fabric coupled with the loose breezy silhouette is just too comfy. I mean I almost want to sleep in the thing. It is perfect for strolling on the beach or lunch at an outdoor restaurant. I call it my tourist dress. 
Although I live on an island, I love tropical vacations as well. All of the islands in the Caribbean are so unique, you need to visit all of them separately to explore the different cultures. That being said, I have some island hopping to do this year and I officially have my first me made vacation dress ready to go! I hope you love it as much as I do and feel inspired to start building your summer wardrobe fabric stash!
Toodle-loo
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The Tween Sirocco Jumpsuit

When I started sewing about 13 years ago, I mainly made clothes for my kids. Sewing clothes for myself felt a bit too intimidating at first but after a year or so I began making simple garments for myself. And then I never stopped. Fast forward to 2019. I now make most of my own wardrobe but also still sew clothes for my kids – mostly for my girls aged 12 and 20 but occasionally for my 13 and 15-year-old sons as well. I’m so happy that my kids still want to wear homemade clothes. My daughters are proud of their mum-made garments and find it cool that they can wear something that not ‘everyone else’ is wearing. My eldest daughter steals from my closet and soon the youngest daughter will be able to borrow from mum and big sister as well. Wilma is a slender, tall 12-year-old and I’ve recently discovered that the smallest sizes in women’s patterns often fit her well, so now I’m pretty much done using children’s clothes patterns.

This is an example of how you can use an adult size pattern to sew for your tween/teen.

Wilma is wearing the ‘Sirocco Jumpsuit’ designed by Deer and Doe Patterns in the smallest size 34. For reference she is 170 cm tall and the length is perfect for her. She has rolled up the pants just because she likes the look with the boots but they hit her ankle when not rolled, so they are not super long on her. This is my second time using the patterns. First time I made it I used a jersey with more stretch and drape and therefore omitted the pockets as I was afraid they would pull too much if she put something in them. As you can see I also omitted the pockets this time which I kind of regret, because this stable Scuba Jersey holds it shape and the pockets would absolutely not stretch out in this. (Luckily she doesn’t yet know that the design comes with pockets).

I did consider making the shorter playsuit version of this design because I was afraid that the ‘wild print’ would be a bit too much for a long jumpsuit – but I think she rocks the look (and I can always shorten it if she changes her mind).

I added self-drafted ties to the side seam of the jumpsuit. I don’t know, there’s just something about ties and belts I’m attracted to. IMO they make the jumpsuit look more complete. I also lengthened the sleeves a bit – again, there’s something about these longer sleeves with the full length leg that I like. Apart from that I made no alterations, that means no fit alterations at all. This is a size 34 straight from the envelope. The waist has negative ease, so you have to consider this when choosing fabric for this design. My daughter still has pretty narrow hips but she has a round booty, so she has to be careful when squeezing and twisting her butt and hips into this one.

The fabric is an absolute pleasure to work with. As mentioned above it’s a very stable knit, easy to sew and it practically doesn’t fray, so you could get away with not finishing the edges. This spongy scuba doesn’t press super well, though – at least not on the lower settings. Since it’s a poly/lycra blend I didn’t dare use a very warm iron.

I still have a little fabric left so I’m considering making a swimsuit for myself or one of the girls with the leftovers. 

Thanks for reading,

Trine @trine.schroeder

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The Style Arc Debra Zebra Top

Hello All! It’s Suzie from Threadquarters back with you again today.
In my last blog post for Minerva I made a rather epic bright blue Berlin Jacket out of their boiled wool (click here to see more!). Such a fun, bold statement piece. I love wearing it. But while I do love to make ‘wow’ projects, I also find it equally satisfying to be able to make those key wardrobe staples. You know, the kind that you reach for every day and goes with everything? And that’s what my latest project is.
I realised that my wardrobe was in dire need of some Winter layering pieces. Something I could wear either on it’s own, or as a layering piece underneath my jumpers, tops, tunics and dresses when the weather is bitterly cold. I settled on making the Style Arc Debra Zebra top.
I decided that the Cotton Spandex Jersey Fabric would be perfect for this, and I was really pleased to see that it was 92% cotton. For layering garments I think its really important to try and use natural fibres (rather than polyester etc), to help your body breathe. Minerva have this fabric in 16 gorgeous shades, but I went with black as I knew it would be the most versatile. The fabric is really soft to the touch and a medium weight. It’s your perfect cotton jersey, great for making classic t-shirts. I think it would also work well for leggings, but would maybe be a little sheer so I would suggest only for leggings that you will be layering. Because of the cotton content, the fabric does curl when it is cut and does tend to stick to itself which can make it a bit tricky to work with. If you have never worked with jersey before I’d suggest maybe having a few other projects under your belt before using this fabric. That being said, a little patience is all that’s needed!
This is the first Style Arc pattern I have made. If you haven’t come across them before, they are a pattern company based in Australia and have a huge range of very modern, contemporary patterns. You can pick up a range of their Sewing Patterns in paper format from Minerva and you can get all of their patterns as PDF downloads from their own website. That’s how I picked up mine. Annoyingly, their older patterns are offered in single sizes only! So you have to work out which size you are, and you will then receive that size plus the two closest sizes to it. But they come as three separate pdfs. Not handy if you need to grade between sizes! I am a pear shape, so I nearly always need to. On closer investigation on their site it does seem to appear that the newer patterns they are releasing come in multi-sizes, thank goodness!
Because I was absolutely not prepared to print, cut, stick and cut out three pdfs I opted to stick with the size closest to my hips and just alter the garment once it was sewn up. Because it was a jersey I knew this would be easy enough, but if I had have been working with a woven it would have been a very different story! The top came up a little loose on my arms, probably partly due to the size I chose, but also due to the style. Because I wanted a tight fit on my arms for layering, I took the arms in so that they fit snuggly. The top is also very long. Again, good for layering, but you could easily cut a couple of inches off the bottom and it would still be a decent length.
The instructions are VERY brief. Because I have made many t-shirts in the past, this wasn’t an issue for me. However if all Style Arc instructions are that vague then I would say approach with caution if you are a newbie to sewing!
Quite often, a polo neck is constructed with a separate neck piece, however the Debra Zebra’s neck is part of the bodice pattern pieces. This makes it a very quick and simple sew, as the neck band really is the only difficult part of a jersey top. It does mean that you will have some horizontal pull lines at the base of your neck, which some people may not like. However, I actually think it looks quite flattering, and is just part of it’s style. Because my fabric is black it is hard to show details in photos, so I have increased the exposure of this photo so that you can see the details a bit clearer!
I am so pleased with my new top. The fabric is really just perfect for it and I now have a great wardrobe staple that I have been wearing non-stop this Winter. It works perfectly on it’s own, or looks great layered under some of my other handmade items. I’ve paired it with a Wiksten Tova top and a Made By Rae Washi dress in these photos to give you a few examples of how I wear it.
Thanks for reading,
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Spotty Sateen Kimberly Dress

Hi, Claire here! I’m on the internet as @penguinandpear. Today is my first time sharing with you, and I have this gorgeous black and white spots Sateen Fabric to share with you.

As soon as I saw this fabric on the website I thought it would make a lovely Kimberly Dress by AKPatterns - a dress I had been meaning to make for a while, and what better opportunity than this.

The picture of this fabric on the Minerva website by no means shows it off to its full potential. I knew it was nice on the website but when I received it in person a few days later I was taken aback by just how luxurious it looked and felt.

It was my first time working with sateen and I was impressed with the quality of this fabric. On the surface it has an almost glossy look to it; it picks up the light well and highlights the texture.

Fred the cat loves this fabric too!

I had to make a number of alterations to the pattern to fit my body as I wanted it to, and after 4 toiles time was running out and I had to just get on and work with this fabric. Being scared to cut into a fabric because its too nice is a thing!

I didn’t pre-wash this fabric (naughty me!) however I did put a square of fabric in the machine for the benefit of this blog and I can report that it washes well and is a mere 1/8th inch on the lengthwise grain, none on the crosswise.

This is before it was washed

This is after it was washed

I was supplied with 4 metres of this fabric but only ended up using three metres - this is because despite lengthening the bodice by 2 inches I ended up shortening the skirt quite a bit. On the dress pattern there is a skirt panel that goes on the bottom of the skirt but I didn't add this - mainly due to time constraints but also because I liked the skirt the length it was when I cut it - finishing at the bottom of the knee. For reference I cut the size 26 bodice and 28 skirt.

This is a very stable fabric - my favourite kind to work with. Actually, it has been a while since I have worked with wovens and it reminded me how nice it is compared to stretch fabrics. It has a similar weight to quilting cottons, albeit a different kind of fabric.

The fabric cut out nicely - no issues at all. When I initially began to sew I had some problems with the stitches not sinking into the fabric but this was easily fixed by altering my tension and changing to a Gutermann thread, which you can buy on this website. I would also suggest if working with this fabric to use a walking foot. It’s not technically required, I didn’t use one, but I feel it may be useful for perfect stitching as the walking foot glides the fabric from the bottom and the top at an even rate.

The fabric and pattern sewed up fairly quickly. I didn’t follow the instructions because I have made dresses like this before, but if you are new to sewing do not omit this part - it will save you heartache later on.

The first thing I did was staystitch the neckline (v-neck) and armholes to avoid the fabric stretching out while I handled it. I mainly did this because I have had issues with necklines gaping before and wanted to avoid this happening. I also altered the pattern to reduce the length of the neckline thus reducing gaping and when it was finished it looked perfect in this area.

I then sewed the darts up and ironed them using my ham.I did wonder whether this fabric would iron well but I was pleasantly surprised.The fabric looks crisp once ironed - do use a cloth such as silk organza to protect your fabric.

Then I sewed the shoulder seams, and I ran a basting stitch through the head of the sleeves in order to prepare for gathering it into the armscye. The fabric is quite full so I took my time to gather evenly using lots of pins to help keep the fabric in place. Then I sewed the sleeves in flat. Most patterns encourage inserting a sleeve into a finished armhole but I find it easier to sew in flat and then sew the arm and side seams together. I overlocked the edges once sewn.

Next, I put the skirt together and sewed it to the bodice with a basting stitch. This is so I could ensure the side seams on the bodice and skirt matched exactly - once they did I sewed again with a 2.5 stitch length.

Now it was time to install the dreaded invisible zipper! I’ve done lots of these before and generally they don’t scare me (buttonholes are another story!) but I was nervous - I didn’t want to mess this up!

During my toiles I had issues with the fabric gathering when sewing the zip in but it turns out it was the fabric I was using because I had no problems with the fabric we are discussing. Some really important tasks to do when installing an invisible zipper - iron the zipper teeth flat (being careful not to melt them), baste the zip into place using a normal zipper foot, ensuring the waist seam is at the same point on each side of the zip, and once happy with how it looks sew it in again with a secure stitch length using an invisible zipper foot. Because you ironed the zip flat, you’ll be able to get the needle very close to the teeth, ensuring the zip is genuinely invisible from the outside of your garment.

Now came the time to try the garment on! I felt a wave of excitement come over me when I saw myself in the mirror. I hadn’t worn something this lovely in a while (dealing with chronic illhealth I’m usually found in leisurely clothes)! I was happy with the fit around the shoulders, however, under the bust there was quite a bit of excess fabric. It could have done with increasing the darts however I had finished the seams, so I attempted to rectify by sewing a cm in on each side seam. This helped somewhat but you’ll see in the photos there is still some excess. If I make this pattern again I will rectify before making. This is not related to the fabric however because it's not a drapey fabric, there was no hiding it. Just something to be aware of if thinking of using this fabric.

The pattern comes with a facing but I am not a fan of those so opted for bias binding instead. I initially thought I was going to zig zag the hems but when I did it on the arms I didn't get the result I was looking for, and as the hem of the skirt was curved I thought it made more sense to use bias binding. I did this on the neckline and skirt. I’m not a fan of hand hemming but glad I took the time to do this because it has taken the garment up a notch or two.

I love that this fabric gives the dress a great shape, particularly around the shoulder/upper bust and the skirt. I feel dressed up in this fabric and pattern combo and it will be great to wear to an evening party or day time event. Or even work, it works on so many levels.

I have a little bit of fabric left over and I am going to make a matching clutch and possibly a handbag too at some point! Once this blog post has gone live, I will be producing a video about making this dress, so feel free to come over to my Youtube channel and subscribe for more information.

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

Happy sewing!

Claire XOXO

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