Firstly – thank-you so much for having me here! I am thrilled to be a part of the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network; I’ve looked forward to reading everyone’s posts for a long time; so it’s mad to think I’m now here making, and writing, myself!

I thought I’d start by taking on a project I knew would come in useful in the coming months, specifically for a couple of holidays I’ll be taking abroad… so if you look at this and think “Shame we haven’t got the weather for that!” – you’re right, I might have to wait until I go away to get the best use out of it!

I also wanted to use something old, and something new (as is often the case with my makes, normally a refashion of some sort) – so this dress incorporates 3 metres of Minerva fabric with a vintage dress pattern I picked up in Oxfam a few years ago… this was the push that made me open the plastic!!

I won’t lie, I was terrified about cutting into it… but there wasn’t an easy way around it, given the length of the pattern, so I went for it… VERY carefully! Although this is an original pattern from the seventies, there’s a boutique around the corner that sells these dresses at nearly £300 each! (Not such a vintage price…) Suffice to say, if they think it’s good enough to sell for that, I think it’s good enough to try making for myself! One of the most appealing things about this dress is its versatility – it may be called the Seven Way Wonder Dress, but it’s been called lots of other things online, and there are far more than seven ways to wear it. So it should probably be called the ‘Wear This if You Want A Change’ dress. Although that’s not so catchy.

Interestingly enough, Simplicity patterns sent me some info on a surprisingly similar dress pattern whilst I was making this… gave me food for thought in terms of styling!

Minerva Crafts stock this same Simpicity Pattern, so Ive included it in my wishlist along with the fabric and notions you will need if you wish to sew one yourself.

The fabric was fairly easy to choose – I wanted a lightweight stretchy material, that would drape well, and ping back into shape. Minerva have now sold out of the Palm trees fabric I’ve used here, but there is currently a blue version of it, which is just as lovely! If I was to make this again, I’d probably choose a simple marl grey, and make it shorter, likely finishing on the knee. The issue I had with this fabric was that I hadn’t given any thought to the fact that the print is just on the one side…that wouldn’t be an issue with a t-shirt, or a dress ordinarily, but owing to the long straps that are wrapped around the body of the dress to create different styles, it could have looked a little ‘off’, seeing flashes of non-printed fabric here and there… better to show than explain!

Here it is ready pinned, and about to be hemmed…

So, you can be the judge of whether I made a mistake in picking it, and if it looks ‘off’ or not, in the finished dress pics at the end of this post! Firstly, a few points of note. Interestingly, the pattern instructions on hemming were not the best IMHO – would YOU have followed this advice..?

I just thought, the inside of dress does sometimes show (the ties, neckline, etc.) – so I wanted a clean and professional finish, and something I don’t mind looking at!

I decided to fold over twice, making a narrow hem, and securing with a twin needle – therefore allowing for the stretch this dress needs. This was my first time using a twin needle… the issue I had was ‘sewing blind’ – or at least, that’s how it felt… does anyone have any suggestion as to how to make sewing on the right side feel better? Obviously I could sew the way I normally would, right side down, but that would mean the fine zigzag would show all the way around, and I thought that should go inside the dress…

There are so many tutorials online on how to use a twin needle, that I won’t go into that here; all I’ll say is, it’s very straightforward, and I’d definitely use it again! If you try it, and there’s a strange bump between the channels, fiddle around with the tension… apart from that, if you haven’t tried it already, I think you’ll love it too! I used pink and white thread, to mirror the colours in the dress… On the one hand, I think the wild print of the fabric is quite forgiving, in terms of pattern matching through the seam, and/or the fabric being different colours on each side. On the other hand you can’t really see the visual feature the twin needle gives to the hem, and also the styling of the dress gets a little lost in the print… I’ll have to try another ten versions before I’ll know that for sure!! In the meantime I’ll leave you with the finished dress!

The pattern gave lots of instructions of ways to wear;

And I decided to try ‘View 7’ as my first stab! Here’s a selfie close up of the top half;

AND a rather unsatisfactory shot of the back (I didn’t realise until it was too late that my hair was covering the cross-over! Gah!);

I also tried out another version, which gave more drape through the front;

…but I’m not sure how I feel about that one. If anything, the pic shows the full length of the dress, which appears more-or-less the same, no matter which style I’ve tried. It’s mainly the top half that experiences a change, with the skirt falling in a maxi dress way.

Rod was NOT taking the shoot seriously, he just sees it as a way to get a better view of the squirrels.

SO! In conclusion, I would defo make this dress again (it’s made up of two pieces, what’s not to love?)…

As for the fabric, it is a LOVELY fabric, with all the qualities that make it perfect for this dress (I can see why its sold out already!). I realise I talked about the print only being on one side – but that was something that only came to me when I started to wear it, and it hasn’t actually posed a problem in the way I thought it would. I’m tempted to crop off most of the length, so it sits JUST past the knee – but I feel I have to let it live a little first, in the state it was intended to be. I wasn’t too worried about pattern matching (when you’re working with this amount of material, it would be extremely costly to think about the ‘nap’) – but I don’t think it matters too much with this dress.

Again, I think a marl grey option may just be what my wardrobe needs next……… :D