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Terracotta & Sunshine!

Hello again! Glad to be back on the Minerva blog again. This time I will be reviewing this lovely semi-sheer poly-cotton woven stripe Voile Fabric. Perfect for numerous projects in which I chose to use it to recreate a vintage Vogue pattern. This fabric is so pretty and almost behaves as an organza. I was amazed by the structure it had without being at all bulky. It’s amazingly wide so you get a lot of value for your money and it will be perfect for those circle skirts!

I used Vogue 9106 which is an original vintage pattern reprint from the 50’s. I don’t usually buy vintage patterns, suspicious of those tiny waists and deceptively shapely calves in dolly feet shoes, wondering how well they translate into modern day and modern body shapes. This was on a clearance though and I just loved the semi gathered tiered circle skirt and the fitted button down bodice. One gripe I have with Vogue patterns always though is that they divide the two average sizes 14 and 16 into two different patterns. I also noticed in this pattern that the grading was not consistent between sizes so I had to do a lot of grading in faith in the waist area to make the dress fit. Being a modern lady who has popped out two kids, I am sad to say my waist is no longer like that of a Barbie’s and it no longer fits within a standard chart. Although a pain, it is also why I love sewing! It’s harder to fix a ready to wear dress from the shop than it is to grade a pattern slightly and make a custom fitted dress for myself. Did I ever mention my absolute hatred of unpicking stitches? If it can be avoided I avoid it at all costs. My seam ripper and I have an unhealthy love hate relationship going on, and I still feel I see too much of it!

So back to vintage patterns… they are mind blowing! Each button hole is welted, partially machine sewn, part hand sewn. No buttonhole machine needed, just lots of patience and little tiny machine stitches. One thing to take note of this fabric is that it frays like nobody’s business on the vertical stripes since it’s woven, so if you’re not good with frays I would recommend that you overlock all your pattern pieces before you start and keep some fray check on hand to help with the fiddly bits like say, these hand welted buttonholes that gave me a headache before I even started. Another mind boggling revelation was how huge the pattern pieces were. Picture a full circle skirt split into four, calf length (my worst enemy) and marked with numerous dart marks, notches and dots all over the place to indicate where to gather, slash and assemble – phew! Needless to say I had to clear the floor for once to fit the entire piece on my fabric and to have space to cut, which leads me to wonder how big a house did people used to live in? Wasn’t it all about chunky ornate mahogany furniture back then? I can only assume the local hall was open more often for housewives to pop into to cut out their pattern pieces. Sewing bee anyone?

After several nights of sewing, unpicking, sewing, more unpicking, cursing paper patterns which inconsistently remind you to finish a seam, I finished my vintage dress I was originally excited-but-dubious-about and tried it on. Initially I was disappointed, calf length is still not my most flattering length but as the dress relaxed more into my body shape – has anyone else experienced this breaking in experience? I started to like it a lot more. The side zip means it’s easy to pull on and off and after finding my heels I had to negotiate with my pre-schooler to give back to me, I did feel rather pretty! Took a moment to do my hair then tottered into the garden to take some blazingly bright photos in the premature summer sun. This reminded me of another thing about poly-cotton and summer heat – you might want to wear an absorbent slip underneath since the thermal properties were crazy high and I felt hot within minutes. Maybe despite the ethereal semi-sheerness, this fabric might be more suited to Spring and Autumn where the thermal properties are more welcome.

Surprisingly I had leftover fabric after all of this, so I made my daughter a circle skirt – you might have seen it in my previous post but it went so beautifully with the ditsy floral rayon I was reviewing that I had to make something featuring them together. I relied upon the stability of the voile to support the fly away nature of the rayon, sewing the two layers together to form pockets as well as to balance out the nature of rayon. The ditsy Rayon Fabric is also from Minerva! It really opened up my eyes to the beauty of rayon viscose fabrics.

Thanks for reading and see you again soon!

Zoe @zoe_craggs

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Carole Walker said:

Beautifully done Zoe. I love all the extra details you've included. Vogue are my favourite patterns because of all that extra something special. Vogue are my favourite patter · 16th Jul 2019 09:43pm