Minerva Network Bloggers (that’s me)

I’m a Minerva Blogger. There – I can finally let you know. Yippee!

You would already know the cool bloggers who began the Minerva Blogger Network

Anna from Paunnet
Clare from Sew Dixie Lou

Dibs from Ms Dibs

Jane from Handmade Jane
Kathryn from Yes I Made That

Rachel from House of Pinheiro
Shivani from Pins and Needles
and Winnie from Scruffy Badger Time

Minerva Crafts is a family-owned craft centre based in Lancashire, UK with a vast selection of online stock for lots of craft interests. If I keep looking at their site for too long I could easily start a new craft. They have tonnes of knitting, sewing, beading, crotchet and the notions. Love those notions.

The newbie bloggers are:
Amy from That’s so Amy
Claire from heart handmade

Emmie from My oh so vintage life
Erin from Seamstress Erin
Kathryn from Yes I like that 

Jo from Three stories high
Katie from What Katie Sews
Laura from Behind the hedgerow 
Mary from Young, broke and fabulous
Nicole from Nicole Needles
Sam from A little of what you fancy
Joanne from Sew little time
and fellow Australian Lizzy from Sew busy Lizzy.  

So how does it work? Every month each blogger creates a ‘wish list’ from the products on the Minerva Crafts website and we have a unique kit designed around it for us. My first kit in November will be the ‘Maria Party Dress and Summer Work Trousers Kit’ and this will be going live on the Blogger Network on November 28th and here on my blog, so please come and take a look! If you would like to buy my kit, Minerva Crafts have a limited number available on their website so you can sew along with me. Go take a look at the current kits available.
This is such an honour for me (pinch me) and I am flat out testing my projects.

Thank you Vicki of Minerva Crafts

2 in 2 days – Vogue 8181

This was really quick to put together. View A is an empire line V-neck knit dress that is very adaptable. I made 2 of these dresses in 2 days.

The first one is a tame version with trim on the sleeve hems and around the neckline. This is a leftover piece from SIL’s dress. The laces are leftovers too.

The second has trim on the sleeve hems, neckline and waist. Both of these fabrics are well established stash pieces.

If you haven’t sewn a gusset before, Vogue walks you through the process and since this is a knit, you can achieve a great finish in no time at all.

Gussets are a handy feature because while this is a knit fabric, you still need to be able to raise your arms naturally without stretching the fabric out of shape.

Both versions work well with my work jackets so these dresses have been worn to work and for dinners. Thank you TJ for gifting this pattern to me and this is a lovely pattern to use.

Beatrice: technical features

Working with lace is rewarding. This lace pattern has some texture and doesn’t fray so it’s a breeze to easy with. And puckers don’t show and move lace pieces around and there’s no risk of it showing.
This shows the top section of Beatrice.

Laura’s instructions are clear and the lapped zipper closure was a new technique that I learnt making Fifth Avenue and is also a feature on Beatrice. 

The back pleat with a lovely lace back. I added this at the hemming stage.

 Below is a close up of the neckline ‘notch’ detailing. They’re sharp.

The bodice length is the same as the pattern but I’ve adjusted the darts to sit closer together.
The skirt hem has the scalloped edge of the fabric. I’ve used a fine cotton for the body of the dress. 

While this is a pale off-white yellow colour, I’ve used a honey colour trim at the waistline.

The pockets are kangaroo pockets.
The kangaroo pocket are deep so I’ve cut them back by 2″. I do that with all pockets.
I’ll do the in real life photos this week but I got excited to have finished Beatrice today and just had to show you.

PR English tea party and fabric

Adora Handmade Chocolates at Parramatta, not far from My Hung Fabrics, is putting on a high tea for us.  That’s so sweet of them.
You can showcase the Melbourne Cup outfit you wore earlier in the week. You know – it’s the race that stops the nation.

High tea is $15pp and the booking is for 1pm on Saturday 9th November.
Adora Handmade Chocolates is located on the corner of Charles St and Union St, Parramatta. There’s plenty of street parking at it’s at the quiet end of Parramatta. 

I need to confirm bookings by 1 November so let me know if you’ll be there are I’ll send through the booking payment link. Here’s the RSVP link on PR.

If you want a fabric fix, My Hung fabrics is on Church St – 3 blocks away. We can pattern and fabric swap too.

Trousers – from scratch

What’s another challenge amongst friends?

SarahLiz is a keen sewer and blogs her sewing development as she goes. She shares her journey and I’ve picked up a lot of lessons from her blog posts. Making toiles is one of them.

This year I’ve drafted an A-line dress and a pencil skirt, so this month it’s time to draft trousers. After studying for a few months, I’ve realised I learn well on my own and as most of you know, pictures don’t lie.

Made in 2011

I’ve read mix reviews about Metric pattern cutting for women’s wear by Winifred Aldrich and it took me a good 6 months to get a trouser pattern to fit me in 2011, but my curves are back. So while this is purely a selfish endevour, I know I’ll have to make loose-fitting trousers for Mum, so it’s worth practising. I know Mum’s fitting points.

I have other resources on hand if I get stuck. And patience.

My skinny jeans still fit nicely, the Jalie jeans do as do the pull-on trousers I use for hot humid weather using fine cotton fabrics, but it’s time to learn how to draft this pattern from scratch.

Made this year.

And I have a Craftsy course up my sleeves too.

Meetup with Anita McAdam
If you haven’t already let Anita know you’ll be joining us at the Powerhouse Museum on Sunday 27th October, go to the facebook page she has specifically created for this meet up page so you can let her know you’ll be there. You don’t have to have a blog to attend.

Sugar Plum sweetness

Prints, ponte, organza and good old Sunsilky lining. This was my starting point – to test Sugar Plum.

Top fabrics – grey ponte and printed cotton stretch woven. Front fabrics – sunsilky lining and silk organza.

Lolita Patterns
Before my US trip, the girls wanted me to test Sugar Plum. The instructions and tags for each pattern piece were really helpful. The tags come as part of the pattern and these helped me focus on getting this dress done without stressing out about timings or which piece was what.
The girls also kept me in the loop regarding any amendments while the testing group kept testing to the original Sugar Plum deadlines.

Their patterns are multi-size. That’s a big tick for me. Multi-size means I can adjust the size as my weight changes and I can sew this dress for any member in my family.

Prints and plains
Mixing fabrics is always a stretch for me but when I did this for this pattern test, it paid off.

I used my overlocker/serger to roll hem the ruffle edges. There were 22 ruffles to roll hem. I’d classify this as a yoga stretch for my skills. The way the ruffles turned out were pretty and feminine.

Busting the stash
The print and organza were from The Fabric Store bought at our February Sydney Sewer meetup. The ponte from Spotlight. No remnants were harmed this time:) I use remnants a lot. And I used my new turner tools that I bought in NY with Kyle.

Dress features that were worth the effort
Front ruffles – I used the rolled hem setting on my overlocker (score)
Neckline ruffle collar – again I used the gather stitch option on the overlocker (happy dance)

Buttonhole loops – the turner tool from NY was worth buying (investment notion).
Using a stretch woven with ponte fabric – comfortable and doesn’t crease. Gail agrees that ponte is a good work fabric.
Cute styled lined sleeves – winter turned a bit summer the day I wore it to work.

The zipper at the back worked at dream to help this dress keep its shape over time. 
Lining the bodice – Again a lined blouse feels tailored and comfortable.
The button tab – this stops any peekaboo accidents.

After making practical winter pieces, a bit of pretty sewing was something I craved to do.

This dress is designed to be a professional work dress so I wore it to a presentation. The ladies loved it. I was chuffed. Mission accomplished.

If you’re interested in making your version of Sugar Plum, go to Lolita Patterns and take advantage of the discount before 10 October. There are a bunch of great versions Amity has made that you have to see.

I have plans for a ‘deep purple’ version. Join the sewalong and share your version.