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Forest Green Valetta Blouse

I am back on the Minerva Craft Blog again this month and with something that is not for kids or the home, this one is just for me! I rarely make clothes for me to wear – mainly because I often struggle to find patterns that I love that go up to my size and then struggle to justify the cost of the materials when it is simply a selfish make. 

Well – it is a new year and my New Year’s resolution is to be kind to myself. I have told myself that it is OK to be selfish every once in a while, and why not make something beautiful for myself! So, when Minerva Crafts said that this stunning Atelier Brunette Stardust Fabric was available I knew that it was time for some me time!

Next came the hunt for the perfect pattern. I had heard of Blank Slate Patterns from previous hunts for clothes in my size but had never purchased any of their designs. A quick browse of their website gave me plenty of options in my size range but the style of the Valetta Top immediately caught my eye. It was loose and flowy but enough of an interesting yoke not to make it look too tent like. The pattern was a PDF download so decision made, I was ready to go.

This fabric is even more gorgeous in real life than it looks in pictures. I chose the forest green colourway and the gold embroidered dots are shiny and catch the light and the double thickness gauze is weighty but soft and not see through. The material took a bit of pressing and I think it may be one of those tops that will always look a bit rumpled but with this style I think it will look fine. The reverse side of the fabric I found had lots of loose threads where each dot had been embroidered on – I just trimmed the particularly long ones and I was ready to start cutting.

Cutting the pattern was easy and the pattern pieces were straightforward although cutting through a few of the metallic dots made me wince for my poor fabric scissors! I used the same fabric for the yoke lining which gave it some more structure since there were in effect 4 layers of fabric making up the yoke. This was particularly nice on the front V so the pieces didn’t collapse and fold down too much.

I didn’t make many changes to the top other than I left out the tie on the front V and the ties on the sleeves. I’ve had tops in the past with ties on and find I am forever fiddling with them. On the sleeves I simply inserted an elastic in place of the ties.

The instructions of this pattern are more basic that I am used to. For example, it says that you can use French seams but doesn’t tell you how or where to use these seams. The directions are in long paragraphs with multiple instructions all in one go. I found using a pencil to break them up and just taking it slow really helped. Despite this, even as a fairly new sewer, I didn’t have any problems in the construction of the garment and enjoyed how simply it went together. The sleeves especially were a breeze to insert – perhaps because I am used to making kids clothes where it is all a bit fiddly, but the gathering stitches made it so easy and these were my easiest and most successful sleeves to date.

The thing I loved most about this make was that I could try out some of my sewing machine feet that I had never tried before. The first was the overcasting foot. Unfortunately, for the small amount of sewing that I do, I really can’t justify buying an overlocker and this has always made me a little bit sad, but not anymore! This overcasting stitch does just the job on my sewing machine albeit a bit slower and without the handy cutting blade but definitely gives the edges a lovely professional and tidy finish. I know I will be using this foot a lot in the future.

The other foot that I utilised in the project was the hemming foot. I was wary of this since I had tried the similar looking rolled hem foot in the past with zero success. I did press and stitch the hem up on the very edge with my normal foot first, just so that I knew that at I had the right size hem and that I was flowing the curves of the top properly before I started. And the results? Well on the whole I was pleasantly surprised! Once I got going and got the fabric into the right position I found that it made a very neat and tidy hem. The curved bits were a bit trickier and I did have to unpick a few sections and finish them by hand but overall I think on a straight hem I will use this again.

And voila! The finished top! I really love it and I think it really suits the fabric. It is perhaps a little big around the neck and shoulders but fits fine across the high bust which is where you are told to size it from. I will definitely enjoy wearing this make and so happy that I finally have something memade to wear!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my latest project and once again, thanks to Minerva for generously supplying the beautiful fabric.

Anna @pearls_and_picots

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