Blogger Network #31 – Merchant & Mills Camber Dress

merchant-and-mills-camber-set-dress

Hello March! Time for another Minerva Blogger Network post and this month I’ve made the Merchant & Mills Camber dress in a geometric print linen/cotton fabric. This is the first time I’ve ever used a Merchant & Mills pattern and I was really impressed with it! My finished dress is very wearable and it makes a great addition to my everyday wardrobe.

See more of my Camber dress on the Minerva Crafts blog here!

Blogger Network #30 – Monochrome Megan Nielsen Sudley Dress

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Hello everyone! It’s time for my first Minerva Blogger Network post of the year, and this month I’ve made the Megan Nielsen Sudley dress in a lovely black and white floral viscose. One of my sewing resolutions for 2017 was to be a bit more mindful and intentional with my sewing projects, so I’m aiming to focus on garments that I’ll wear often and/or that match other items I own. With that in mind, click the link below to read more about my make!

Read more about my Sudley dress on the Minerva Crafts blog here!

Grainline Linden Sweatshirt in Liberty Jersey

grainline-linden-in-liberty-print*disclaimer: whilst this is my first post of 2017, I actually made this sweatshirt last year. Do forgive me…

Hello everyone! For today’s post and for my first project of the year, I wanted to quickly show you the Liberty print sweatshirt that I made back in October/November. I haven’t actually worn this since I made it because the cropped sleeves and slightly wider neck make it a bit more Spring-appropriate, but it’s a great garment nonetheless and I wanted to tell you about it!

This is the first time I’ve ever used a Grainline Studios pattern and I have to say, I really liked it. I used the Linden sweatshirt pattern for this make, and it’s printed on really sturdy pattern paper that can easily be used again without fear of ripping. The Linden is one of those patterns that all bloggers seem to have made at some point, and now that I’ve made one I can see why. The pattern is nice and easy to sew up and it’s a very wearable piece of clothing. I can definitely see myself making another!

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The fabric I used for my Grainline Linden is another blogger favourite – the super popular Liberty sweatshirt knit in rich blues and greens that Minerva Crafts had on sale for £14.99/metre last year. Unfortunately, this fabric has now sold out, so you’ll have to enjoy it from afar instead! You could make the Linden with any sort of medium-weight knit fabric though, so keep an eye out for sweatshirt fleece, French terry or thick jersey fabrics. I only needed 1m of fabric in total, but that’s perhaps because Liberty fabrics are generally around 60″ wide. You’ll  probably need around 1.5/2m if you’re using a different type of fabric.

liberty-print-linden-sweatshirt

What do you think of my finished Linden? Have you ever made this pattern? If I was to make it again I think I’d put a bit more work into the fit of the neckline – I think because the fabric is quite thick, it’s made the neck band fairly stiff and it doesn’t sit flat against my body. I also chose to make the neck band in the main fabric, rather than using a contrasting ribbed knit like the pattern suggests, so only I can be held accountable for it not being 100% right!

#2017makenine – What I Plan to Stitch This Year

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a restful and peaceful Christmas break. You may have seen my last post of the year – a round up of everything I made in 2016 – and for my first post of the new year I wanted to hop on the #2017makenine train and show you what I plan to make in the upcoming months. So here we go, and in no particular order:

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Top Row, Left-Right

1. MillaMia Elk Cushion – I bought this cushion kit at the Knitting and Stitching show a couple of years ago, and it’s very nearly finished! I’ve completed the fairisle front and now just need to slave away on the plain back until it’s done.
2. Sew Over It Silk Cami – I received this pattern as a gift, along with some silk bow-print material, so I look forward to it being a simple-yet-useful make for summer.
3. Burda 6849 Shirt – I’ve made a chambray shirt with this pattern before, and I have 2m of Liberty print lawn in my stash that is calling out to be used.

Middle Row, Left-Right
4. Merchant and Mills Camber Dress – A birthday gift, my husband bought me this pattern plus some linen-look geometric fabric with which to make it. A simple shape but a dress I’ll hopefully wear often.
5. Tilly and the Buttons Rosa Shirt Dress I bought this pattern when it came out in 2016 and have a length of aztec, woven chambray that I just hope will be big enough!
6. Megan Nielsen Sudley Dress – my first make of the year for Minerva Crafts, this loose fitted dress will be made in a silky monochrome viscose and should be good for spring.

Bottom Row, Left-Right
7. Simplicity 1563 PyjamasThe second of my Minerva Crafts makes, I plan to make a pair of cosy, brushed cotton pyjama trousers with a matching jersey t-shirt.
8. New Look 6449 Shirt Dress
Another shirt dress and more chambray! And my final upcoming Minerva project, this time in a timeless charcoal chambray that will match with anything.
9. M&S Safari Crochet Kit – 
A fun Christmas present from my sister, this year I hope to learn how to crochet and make these cute zoo animals.

What are your plans for the new year? Are you making as many shirts/dresses as I am? Let me know in the comments!

 

Blogger Network #29 – Scandi Christmas Lilou Dress

tilly-and-the-buttons-christmas-lilou-dress

Happy December everyone! It’s time for my latest Minerva Blogger Network project, and this month I’ve made a Tilly and the Buttons Lilou dress in red and white Scandi-style Christmas fabric! Perfect for all the upcoming Christmas parties, dinners and gatherings, don’t you think?

Click here to read more about my Lilou dress!

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Simplicity’s New Collection: the 8131 Blouse

simplicity-8131-blouseIt’s October, it’s a new season and, with it, comes a new collection of sewing patterns from Simplicity! I was emailed by Simplicity a few weeks ago with a link to their new collection of patterns and couldn’t wait to get sorting through them. Which one is your favourite? I picked to make the new 8131 blouse!

The Simplicity 8131 blouse is ‘a V-neck bow blouse pattern allows you the ability to choose different bow styles and sleeves plus round or pointed hem.’ You can also do an off-the-shoulder style if you want to be really on-trend! I chose to make view B which has no sleeves, a rounded hem and a cute little pussy-bow neck tie. Despite all those features I actually think I selected the most simple pattern of the lot, but I wanted to make something that I’d be more likely to wear regularly than the bare-shoulder or long-sleeved variants.

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The fabric I used for my blouse is a navy floral viscose that I actually bought on eBay, but there are loads of other lovely navy viscoses available at Minerva Crafts here if you want to take a look! Viscose is a really soft, drapey fabric and suits the bow neck-tie feature on this blouse really well. It feels a little like wearing pyjamas when you’ve got it on which is win/win really! However, viscose can be both quite slippery and stretchy to work with so make sure you cut our your pattern pieces accurately and use lots of pins to avoid producing a slightly wonky garment…

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simplicity-8131The pattern instructions are what you expect from Simplicity – very easy to follow with clear pictures for each step and I didn’t have any problems. I’d probably recommend this pattern for an intermediate-beginner as there are a fair few techniques needed, such as the rounded hem, gathering on the shoulders and attaching the tie/collar. If you’re new to any of these techniques then the pattern instructions are clear enough to help you out, but it’s always good to know what you’re doing beforehand!

So what do you think? Will you be having a go at any of the new Simplicity patterns this autumn?

Simplicity 8086 Cynthia Rowley Overlay Dress

Simplicity Cynthia Rowley 8086Wow, I can’t quite believe that I finished this one! You know when you spot that perfect dress pattern and know instantly it’s one you just have to make? I found the Cynthia Rowley 8086 dress from Simplicity online a few months ago now and I’ve been quietly working at it every weekend since. This dress isn’t for the faint-hearted and will challenge your spatial awareness skills like no other – but it’s so worth it.

The dress is almost like two dresses in one: it has a high neck/low back dress underneath and then a high neck/open back overlay over the top. The skirt is full and pleated, there’s a zipper down the centre back and a button loop at the neck. It also has a bodice lining and an overlay lining. (The fabric is a woven brocade from Minerva Crafts, by the way) Can you see why this project took me forever?

Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 8086 Overlay Dress

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it though – in fact, I loved that I could do a little bit each weekend and could see it slowly coming together on its coat-hanger. I spend quite a lot of time whipping up projects over the course of a weekend so it was nice to take a bit more time and care when making this dress! However, I did also run into a few problems… the pattern instructions are largely wonderfully written (as is often the case with Simplicity) but I had so much trouble when it came to attaching the overlay to the bodice. The instructions for this part were so unclear and it seemed as if steps had been missed out – which is a nightmare when this dress is already quite complicated. After a bit of Googling I found that other people also had the same issue (see Pattern Review for more!).

Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 8086 Overlay Dress Back

I also had trouble with the fit around my back and had to take it in and out a few times before I got it to sit right and not gape. This resulted in my back zip being massively off-centre, by which time it was too late to do anything about it! I think I’ve got away with it though – I wore this dress to my friend’s birthday party last weekend and all I got were lovely compliments. I think us sewists are too hard on ourselves sometimes: no one else ever spots the wonky bits that we berate ourselves for!

Simplicity 8086 Dress

Despite the few hiccups, I got there in the end. There was a bit of unpicking and trying again but I don’t mind that so much – how else am I going to learn new things? Trial and error is often your friend when it comes to dressmaking! And I really love my finished dress too. I’ve got a couple of weddings coming up in September so I’ll probably wear it again to one of those – I think this dress will become a nice staple in my party dress wardrobe. What do you think?

SImplicity Cynthia Rowley 8086 Button loop neck

I definitely recommend this pattern for the more adventurous intermediate/advanced seamstress. I’m super proud of my finished dress and I’m really pleased with how it turned out, especially because at one point I wasn’t sure it was ever going to work! Has this ever happened to you before? I think my cat Barnaby approves too – he loves being in my blog photos these days, perhaps I should get him to do my modelling in future.

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