Minerva Network Blogger – December summer

Merry Christmas and I hope everyone still has that holiday feeling. It’s summer here and it’s scorching hot. No snow, just a whole lot of heat and humidity. We have the Sydney to Hobart yacht race on Boxing Day and the traditional Boxing Day test match in Melbourne to keep us celebrating the season in our very hot summer. 

I’m on holidays too so I’ve made a cool summer holiday dress and my summer work jacket. Christmas Day was too cool to wear this dress for my Christmas hostess duties with the family this year.

Cool summer holiday dress

New Look 6122 has 3 neckline options and can be made either maxi or short length.

I chose View B with a knee length skirt.

The dress combines a stripe knit and a solid colour knit from Minerva Crafts UK. I chose the stripe knit. Vicki picked the solid colour knit for me. Thanks Vicki! Both knits have minimal stretch so they are excellent fabrics to work with.

Unlike my test version, this version uses size 8 for a better bodice fit.

The version you’re looking at is the initial halter neck style that I changed a week later.

You can see the shoulder straps are now sewn onto the back bodice, and I’ve left off the waist ties.

I found the instructions made the whole bodice construction very easy to achieve.

I don’t usually wear gathers on a skirt but this is a summer holiday dress and in the heat and humidity, comfort is key to me. Thankfully the gathers are in the centre of the skirt pieces and not on the hips.

After finishing this dress I pattern tested an activewear top for Melissa of Fehr Trading.

The bra lining of her top is brilliant for training at the gym and I crudely added the bra lining to this dress after I finished making it. I tell you what, this bra lining gives me heaps of support now.

DH took this shot while we were visiting Bathurst on the weekend before Christmas. There’s a lot of bodice support in this dress. Just what I wanted. I wore this dress all day and loved it.

These are the farmers markets at Bathurst. You can read about the test version here. 

This is an easy dress to make as is. Views B and D are my favourites but I’m sure I’ll be able to use all of these styles. And if you need more bodice support, add a bra lining. It’s worth the extra effort.

Summer work jacketMaking this summer jacket using Vogue 8931 was a lot of fun. This jacket style gives you a few options and the ability to colour block to make it ‘your own’. That’s got to be a good thing.

I made View C using the linen-look cotton I used for the trouser pattern last month. I know ‘matching’ isn’t in but I prefer to wear one colour top-to-toe and then add a contrasting blouse.

I like using Vogue patterns for work wear and this jacket didn’t disappoint me.
After making a calico test, I made the 8 at the shoulders and 10 at the waist and hips. I avoid using calico when testing new patterns but for a jacket like this, I felt it needed to be tested for fit and to practice the construction techniques. This made all the difference when I
made up the real jacket.  
My darts on the test version didn’t line up so I knew I needed to make these better in the real version.

This fabric is soft and I knew that when I made the trousers last month so it’s great for summer. Jackets are a statement piece so I fully interfaced this fabric so it keeps its shape for years to come. You can see how I did this hereor in the Minerva Crafts sewing tutorials section.

The pattern has a faux pocket so I decided to add zipper pockets in the waistline seam. The technique used is here or go to the Minerva sewing tutorials section.

I made the centre back fold a centre back seam to add shaping for my sway back and I’ve written some details about sway back adjustments here, here and in the Minerva sewing tutorials section.

The sleeve shaping seemed a bit high under the arm so I graded it to a 10.
The shoulder line is longer than I need so I have taken off 1.5 cm.

The two piece sleeve uses easing instead of a dart at the elbow.
This added finish is something I do a lot now. It looks cleaner on the inside.
Oh. There are lots of techniques you can add to a jacket like pad stitching. During the collar construction I did add pad stitching to the under collar to give to collar more body. The details are here and in the Minerva sewing tutorials section.
Vicki picked the button for me this time. She’s got a good eye for detail. I found it hard to choose from the huge range of buttons on the Minerva Crafts website. Thanks again Vicki.

I bought the invisible zips locally because it was a WIP decision.

Did you notice the top I’m wearing? I’ve used the left- over knit from my summer dress to make a simple shell top using New Look 6977. I cut it on the bias for interest or because ‘I thought it was a good idea at the time’.
Thanks again to Minerva for being supportive of my sewing habit. If you feel inspired to make this dress and jacket for summer (your summer), hop over and grab your fabric and notions today.
Enjoy the break everyone. I certainly will. See you again in 2014!!!


  1. Oh, thank you for showing the bra lining! I was having trouble interpreting Melissa's instructions (I was trying to do too many things at once). I enjoy reading your blog–thank you for documenting and sharing your experiences!

    Rose in SV


  2. Love the dress and the “support” is a wonderful idea. That jacket is gorgeous and looks fab on you. Enjoy the cooler weather today and all the best for the season.


  3. I agree with BeaJay – the built in support with the sundress is a very good idea. The jacket is stunning – the pattern is out of stock up here, but is on the list :). A very smart suit.


  4. I love the dress, and the technique of adding the bra lining is superb! Thanks also for the informative series of posts that you wrote when constructing your jacket. I always appreciate that sort of detail about alterations for the shorter sewist, and you really know your stuff. Have a wonderful holiday!


  5. Wow, wonderful pieces! I think about making the dress, so am very gratful for your reviews.
    But seeing your wonderful Vogue jacket makes me want to tackle a structured jacket…


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