I normally just dive into reviewing my most recent project. These are crazy times and it seems wrong not to check-in with you all. How are you all doing out there? I hope this finds you and your family doing well and staying healthy. We were told to shelter-in-place on Monday. I packed up my work stuff and have been working from home as of Tuesday. I’m set up on the dining room table while my husband is in our office. Why? Because our office is also my sewing room and I don’t have the kind of will power it takes to have a half-finished sewing project going and stay focused on work. I simply don’t! I enjoy my job but I enjoy sewing even more.
Pictured here is my most recent Minerva Maker project. For this top I chose this medium-weight cotton Spandex jersey. The color is called rose but it is a little more on the lavender side to me. I thought it would be a great transition piece for spring.
The cuffs are what attracted me to this pattern instantly. The magazine has this to say about the top “… fine like a blouse but comfortable like a t-shirt”. I think that describes this top very well.
This top was simple to sew and the instructions were fine. I chose to interface the collar facing pieces. I’m glad I did. I think it helps the collar stand up and keep its shape. I like the drop shoulder. The back has a 9 inch invisible zipper. I could not find an invisible zipper to match so I purchased a light pink zipper and painted the zipper pull with nail polish that matched the fabric.
At a time like this I’m glad I have a hobby that can easily be done by myself indoors. I have more sewing plans that I’ll ever be able to sew. A little extra sewing time is welcome. I’m doing what I can to keep my family and my community healthy AND I get uninterrupted sewing. That’s definitely making lemonade out of lemons.
Stay healthy everyone! Feel free to share with me what you are doing for yourself during these challenging times.
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When I saw this fabric on Minerva’s website I had to have it for my Minerva Maker project. I had never seen anything like it. The fabric has two layers of fabric with the exact same print. The top layer is an organza and the bottom is a mid-weight dress fabric. Together they create something that has a drape similar to taffeta. Below is a picture of my hand between the two fabrics. The fabric is secured every 4 inches or so. The Minerva website has a video with the fabric description that is very helpful in getting a feel for the fabric.
I made View B without the slit at the neckline. I added 5/8 inches to the length of the bodice and 1 inch to the skirt. The pattern calls for lining the bodice but I chose to line the skirt as well.
I was not sure what color buttons to choose for this dress. Any color I chose blended in with the fabric. The woman at Britex (my favorite store to buy buttons) recommended gold as soon as she saw the fabric and she was right. Matte gold buttons looked the best with the fabric.
I like the fit of this dress very much. The pattern envelope never caught my eye, but I bought the pattern after seeing some cute versions of this dress from fellow sewists. My plans were to make it in a solid linen. I might still do that.
The print looks blurry in the pictures but it’s more of a 3-D effect in person. It’s very interesting to see.
This dress was not in my sewing plans. It seems that has been happening a lot lately. I like having a plan for what I’m going to sew in a season but when a fabric inspires me as much as this one did, I need to run with it.
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I never noticed this top when I received my Burda Style magazine last fall. It was pictured twice in the magazine and neither one jumped out at me. Last month when I wanted to sew a simple top using this textured red knit from my stash, this line drawing caught my attention.
I went back to look at the magazine and thought this would be a good style for my fabric. It was simple yet the side tie created a just enough interest. I also liked the bateau neckline very much. Speaking of the neckline, it is finished with facings. I stitched them in the ditch along the shoulder seam. They stay nicely in place.
This is a rare time when it may have taken me longer to trace a Burda Style pattern than to sew it. The magazine lists this pattern as “Super Easy”. They’re not exaggerating.
The side ties can be cinched up more or less depending on your preference. I found that if you tied the ties too closely together the back scrunched up in an unflattering way. After trying different lengths of tying the bow I found this length to be my favorite. It gave the look I wanted in the front and back.
I’ll reach for this top in my closet when I need a casual top with a little something different.
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I’m not ready to officially start sewing for summer yet. I still have a some cooler weather clothes I want to make but when I saw this abstract linen and viscose print at Minerva, I had to have it. I am part of the Minerva Maker team which means that Minerva provides me with the fabric of my choice for a project of my choosing in exchange for a blog post on their website. To date I’ve been very happy with everything I’ve received from them.
I chose to make Butterick 6446. I never noticed the pattern until my neighbor Kathy made this dress for herself. I’ve mentioned it before but it’s worth mentioning again; I’m lucky to have a neighbor who is also a sewing buddy. It’s fun to know that someone else is rocking the sewing machine just a few doors down from me.
I wasn’t sure how the combination of linen and viscose would wash but there was no need for concern. The fabric washed beautifully and was a pleasure to sew. I like how this fabric drapes.
The pattern was straightforward to sew. I added 3/4″ to the bodice and 2″ to the skirt. The pattern calls for only lining the bodice but I lined the skirt as well. I used a cotton voile for the bodice and a cling-free polyester for the skirt. I was worried that the skirt would get hung up on the cotton voile lining while I was walking.
Though this was a simple dress to make it was not without drama. When I tried the dress on to measure for the placement of the eyelets on the belt, the invisible zipper broke. This has never happened to me. I was VERY upset. I took out the zipper but since the dress was completely finished I could not see how I would get an invisible zipper back in. I decided to go with a lapped zipper. I had not installed one in years. It went well and I’m happy with the result. I referenced online tutorials to refresh my memory.
The pattern offers a sash for a belt. I’ve been taken with covered belts and buckles ever since watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I love her wardrobe and noticed that many of her dresses have covered belts. One of the advantages of sewing my own wardrobe is that I can customize my projects. Adding covered belts is my latest customization.
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About 15 years ago I bought a red fleece barn style jacket from Nordstrom. It was perfect for throwing on to walk in the neighborhood or for errand running. The problem was that it pilled like crazy so it did not last long in my closet. I was disappointed because:
A) It was from Nordstrom and I expected better for the price I paid.
B) I liked having a casual warm jacket to throw on that was different than the regular zipper style everyone was wearing.
I knew I could find the non-pill fleece at JoAnn’s. All I needed was a pattern. My first thought when I saw Simplicity 1540 a few years ago was to make it in boiled wool. I still have plans to do that, but for now I would make a fleece version.
The princess seams give this jacket a flattering shape.
The back is also interesting on this jacket.
The pattern is well drafted and comes together fairly quickly. The jacket is unlined so even though the fleece does not fray, I serged the edges. I interfaced the bottom of the sleeves with a medium weight interfacing to give the sleeve a little weight.
Because I don’t like finishing my blog posts with my back to you, here’s another picture of my jacket. The jeans are the Jalie jeans that I made a couple of years ago.
I bought some green fleece at the same time as the red. I made the green jacket first a few years ago. The collar on this version is a great substitute for a scarf. Perfect for walks with my fashion photographer.
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I need to add solid tops to my work wardrobe. I realize that say that quite often. I love sewing pretty colorful prints and often overlook the versatile and much needed solids. This beautiful polyester dress fabric from Minerva was my most recent Minerva Maker project. Minerva often provides videos with their fabric descriptions. I find these very helpful when shopping for fabric online. In this case the video showed me a fabric that had some body yet had great movement.
I had made View A with the ruffle a couple of years ago and it has become a go-to blouse for me. I like that this semi-fitted blouse looks just as nice worn outside or tucked in. The length of the sleeve is perfect for work. I use a computer for a large part of the day and these sleeves don’t drag on my keyboard or desk.
The only change I made to this top was to interface the hidden button/buttonhole plackets. The pattern has you fold the fabric to create the facing. I’ve never been satisfied with simply folding over the fabric. I find that adding interfacing prevents the buttonholes from stretching and adds stability to the buttons.
I’m glad I took the time to sew this blouse in a solid color. I am sure it will be on heavy rotation. I plan on sewing this classic style again some day.
Below is View A that I made a couple of years ago:
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My friend Lise gifted me with this beautiful multi-color textured knit last year. I knew I wanted to sew a black contrast with it but wasn’t sure what to make, so it sat around waiting for the right pattern to come along. After seeing a few versions of McCall’s 7247 online I decided this was the right pattern for the fabric. I think the front overlay is interesting.
The black knit is a thick jersey with great recovery from Stonemountain & Daughter in Berkeley, CA. I sure wish I lived closer to that store. They have a wonderful selection of fabric.
I had an issue with gaping with the neck binding. I removed about an inch from the length. Once I made the modification the binding fit well.
The front overlay is hemmed and then sewn on top of the front at the shoulders and right side. This pattern would also make a nice basic knit top without the overlay because it has a great shape to it.
I made this top in December. I always like to have a project going but with the preparations for the Holidays I don’t have much time to sew. This was the perfect project to have at the ready for the amount of time I had available to dedicate to sewing.
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A few days before Christmas Eve I decided I wanted to sew a new top for the family gathering. It was going to have to be something where I had everything I needed to complete the project, including a pattern I knew would work without any adjustments. So between work and Holiday baking I carved out some time for this top. I had made View A in the past and felt comfortable moving forward with View C.
The lace for the sleeves was leftover from a skirt I made a few years ago. Don’t you love when you can incorporate your leftovers? The main fabric is a black polyester with a very soft hand that has been in my fabric stash for a few years. I sewed this top straight-up, no changes. It was a quick project and I’m glad I decided to whip this up. At this point my fashion photographer doesn’t even raise an eyebrow when I announce a last minute project. I think he would be surprised if I didn’t 🙂
I had a few patterns to choose from but what got this one selected was the gathered sleeve cap. It’s a feminine detail that I thought would do well with the lace and the simplicity of the pattern. The front and back are cut on the bias. The neck opening is wide enough to not require any fasteners. The top just slips right on. I took the time to do a blind hem because I didn’t want a seam running across the bottom of my top.
This will most likely be my last post for 2019 so I asked my fashion photographer to join me in front of the camera. His camera skills and patience are integral to my blog.
As 2019 comes to an end I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year. May 2020 bring you joy and success in your projects, sewing or otherwise. I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I started my blog as a way to document my sewing projects and possibly inspire other sewists. The connection to the sewing community has been wonderful. I look forward to another year of sharing my projects with you.
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Manju, who blogs at sewmanju.com and can be found on Instagram @sewmanju, posted a picture on Instagram of a shirt she made with this fabric. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. A few days later I received an email from Minerva with a selection of fabrics to choose from as part of the Minerva Makers. When I saw this beautiful viscose twill I could not believe it was the same print as Manju’s shirt. I ordered the fabric as soon as I saw it. Once I received it I knew the fabric would be perfect for a shirtdress.
I chose Simplicity 8014 and decided to make View B with long sleeves. I also made View D a few years ago.
I added 1 inch to the skirt and a 1/2 inch to the bodice. These are normal modifications for me. Another change I made was to interface the button/buttonhole “band”. I put the band in quotes because it wasn’t a separate pattern piece. The front has an extension that you fold to create the button/buttonhole “band”. I always add interfacing when I encounter this situation. I find the interfacing provides extra stability and prevents the buttonholes from stretching.
I made a 1.5 inch covered belt and buckle instead of the tie belt pictured on the pattern.
This is my second shirtdress in two months. They are not quick projects but are worth the time they require. I’m happy to add this classic piece to my wardrobe.
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Congratulations to Karen Eckert, winner of A Stylish Guide to Classic Sewing. Karen’s number was chosen randomly after the original winner did not come forward. Congratulations Karen!
Thank you to all who commented on my blog for a chance to win this wonderful book.