This project was made up of all my favourite things and surely that is what sewing should be about: being excited about your materials, what you’re sewing and how you’re going to enjoy it once it’s finished.

Fabric

I started with the fabric on this project. I had seen the fabric on social media a few months before but to my disappointment I couldn’t find where it was from. Then when I was deciding on my next project, I came across it by chance on the Minerva website. I could not have been more excited with my find! There are so many things I love about this fabric but the print is the main feature that caught my attention. For a start, pink, and different shades of pink too, on a black background so it really pops. Secondly, and possibly most importantly, the design is made up of lots of little 1950s fashion ladies!  In beautiful hats and, what I would say are, Dior ‘New Look’ dresses. It is so novelty and feminine and just ‘me’ all over.

The fabric is a jersey made up of viscose and spandex and it is so soft and silky making it really comfortable to wear. It has a lovely drape, so I can imagine it making some lovely smart dresses, but it’s also very stable so still very pleasant to sew with and get neat results with. I used a stretch needle and the stretch stitch on my machine, which is like a very narrow, slanted zig-zag stitch.

Pattern

This pattern has to be one of my most used and I’m nowhere near finished with it yet! It is a Patterns By Gertie (Butterick 6285) design and I made the cardy/wrap top which requires a jersey fabric. Like a lot of Gertie’s designs, this cardy is really timeless and also I think ‘season-less’ as you can layer it up with vests for the colder months, or just wear it as a top on it’s own when it’s warmer. The sleeve and bodice are cut as one so you get this very relaxed raglan sleeve style, and the waist ties feed through a gap in the bodice side seam so the ties sit over the bottom edge of the cardy and then tie at the side front (or I have occasionally tied them at the back for a slightly different look). I think the bow of the waist ties really top the design off perfectly with that extra bit of pizzazz.

Construction

Sewing this cardy is delightfully simple with just the front, back and tie pieces to attach. I make one adjustment to my versions which is to lengthen the arms by 3 inches. I just prefer a slightly longer sleeve that comes down my forearm rather than ending at the elbow.

If you have a longer torso you might want to extend the bodice slightly as it does finish quite high waist on the waist, which is perfect for the 1950s shape but if you’re not wearing a layer underneath you might end up showing a little midriff.

The whole garment is also lined in the same fabric so it looks just as fabulous from the inside as the outside. Bagging the cardy out after attaching the lining is just so satisfying – you won’t find any raw edges on show here!

One tip I would give is to sew a little label or indication into your lining. This is because once if you’ve lined it in the same fabric as suggested then you’ll never be able to tell which is the inside and which is the outside.

I know hand sewing is not everyone’s favourite thing but I really enjoy finishing off a garment with a little slow stitching and on this cardy the pattern instructs you to hand sew the edges of the sleeves together and the side opening for the waist ties, however if you’re really adverse to this then you could get away with top stitching them on the machine.

There was one issue with this fabric and pattern combo, which I can live with because I love the fabric so much but I admit does look slightly odd, is that my vintage ladies are upside down on the back! This is because the front and backs are cut as one so you can only have them going in one direction. I’ll have to wait until I can wear it out after lockdown and see how many people notice…

Overall I love this project as much as I thought I would and definitely recommend both this pattern and this fabric. I’ve dressed it up slightly in my pictures but you can see how effortlessly stylish it would look paired with any bottoms, vintage or modern!

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

Rebecca

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