Hello all! 

My latest Minerva make is a double whammy. I've been looking for the perfect navy and white striped knit for yonks and yonks and yonks, and as soon as I saw it on their Instagram I knew it would be included in one of my kits. Then I had to decide what I wanted to pair it with. In the end I decided to go classic red pleated skirt for that timeless silhouette.

The navy striped knit is a Ponte Roma Fabric, and I was slightly concerned that it would be too thick but it was perfect for the fitted top that I wanted. The fabric is super soft and makes a really cosy top. I took my time with the stripe matching and I'm really pleased with the results, especially with the sleeves because that's something I've never been quite successful with before.

Pattern-wise for the top I just used the bodice pieces from the Lady Skater Dress pattern, drawing in a higher neckline and lengthened them about 6 inches. I probably would have been safer using a t-shirt as a guide for hip width and length because it is a wee bit snug around the hips.

The sleeves were originally full length, but there was just too much stripe going on so I shortened them to just below the elbow. The proportions are a lot better now, for the sacrifice of constantly chilly forearms. I was very tempted to chop off the top of the top to make it an off-the-shoulder top but I wasn't prepared to get that chilly. Maybe in the spring.

And as for the skirt, I used the Zeena dress pattern from By Hand London (omitting the bodice) and a lovely bright red stretch cotton sateen. It has the most wonderful volume to it which creates the wonderful fit and flare silhouette. I used the longest length of the pattern and liked the length just as it was when I tried it on, so I added a hem facing to keep it as close to that as possible.

I made sure when I cut out that the centre back seam was cut on the selvedge so I didn't have to finish those edges. The side seams were French seamed. I tacked all of the pleats, except for the pleats on each side seam which I kept open. Then I tried it on and pinned the pleats on either side to fit my waist. Then I could add the invisible zip and the waistband.

I slip-stitched the waistband closed on the inside and added a popper, tried the skirt on and it was too big! This always happens to me with pleated skirts and I'm not quite sure why. I didn't want to rip everything out so instead I opened up the waistband and inserted some elastic in just to the back pieces, not enough to show on the outside but enough to just cinch the waist in a little. I tried the skirt on again, and it was still that bit too big, so I added some to the front and it worked, but I stretched the elastic just a little bit too much and now the front waistband is all ripply. Before I next wear it I'll rip up the waistband again and take out the elastic at the front and perhaps stretch the elastic at the back just a little bit more.

Overall I'm really happy with the outfit. I feel very chic in it and I look forward to mixing and matching the pieces with other items in my wardrobe.

Thanks very much to Minerva Crafts for the kit and to Lucy for taking the photos!

Lauren xx