Poppies for Spring

John Kaldor microfibre fabric with poppies was my choice for this month’s Minerva Crafts UK project. It’s September and it’s also Spring so I’ve used New Look 6067 with 3/4 length sleeves.

This dress will be a ‘9to5’ workhorse dress because it’s shapely and work appropriate.

Above is the dress kit I ordered from Minerva Crafts.

After reading previous reviews of this pattern I decided to:

  • lower the neckline to necklace height
  • lower the v-opening
  • Line the bodice
  • interface the front neckline

I did test this pattern and used size 14 but found that I could size the bust down to size 10 which I’ve done on this version.

Basic alterations:
  • Forward shoulder adjustment
  • shortened the skirt
  • raised the centre back pleat 
Below are the bodice pieces showing the shoulder seams adjusted and the front facing lowered as I had lowered the neckline opening by 3cm.
The other issue I found was the back neckline was high so I dropped this by 3cm as well. 

I did grade the bodice so the bust was size 10 and the waist was size 14. You can see I redrew the back neck facing.

Below is the finished back neckline.

I shorten skirt pieces initially below my ‘derriere’ but then I had to shorten the hem after the test dress by 5 cm. I didn’t want to waste my poppy print fabric. 

It looks like this pattern was printed in 2011 so it’s not new and has been road tested by alot of good sewers.

What I was able to do is add a hint of piping at the neckline.

You can see I checked how this looked before I progressed with making this dress.

I like how it worked out and didn’t add too much weight to this neckline.

There is a lot of hand sewing involved with the lined bodice and the skirt hem. The trick that works for me is to ‘wax the threads’.

Lots of threads. If you’re technical, I start of with a dozen waxed threads. I usually need another two or three to sew on the hook and eye at the top of the zipper and then to sew up any loose ends.

Thanks again Minerva Crafts UK to this new Spring dress.

Pinup girls Classic bra

This time I decided to test out the Pin-up Girls Classic bra to use up some of my bra stash. I bought this from Sew Squirrel.

So far this year I’ve bought three bra kits from Susan of Measuretwicecutonce so I felt is was time to give the yellow kit a try. 

Susan constantly changes her kits so I keep an eye on what she has on offer each month.

 This cream colour on is the test version I made using the Classic bra pattern.

 The cups were a bit high for me so I adjusted them for Susan’s kit.

 Above the progress shot and as you can see, the lace is not lined.

I used the premade bra strap to check the ones I made using Susan’s kit. The level of details in making bras can ‘do your head in’. I certainly does my head in.

Here’s the final version and I’ve applied a gold pre-made rose.

This version uses leftover pieces from both bras and I’ve used a bigger pre-made flower for the finishing touch. The inner lace is lined but not the side cup.

I still have two more kits to make up but I’ve put these aside for now. There are some foam bra cup shapes I’ve purchased locally so they might be the next bra projects to conquer.

A bra with no pattern

Yep. That’s what this post is about – making a bra from the store-bought bra I loved.

This is the second bra and it’s got all the kinks ironed out of the pattern pieces.

I made this pink rose lace bra based on the black lace ‘zombie’ bra below.

These are the initial bra pieces from the black lace bra.

Susan of Measure Twice Cut Once has a really good series of posts on her blog that you really should bookmark if you want to do this like a real professional.

You can see how I’ve pinned the bra to paper to trace it without unpicking it.

The first rose lace bra was the test bra and the second one is the ‘bra of success’.

Notions list for two bras:
·         Sliders and bra strapping or buy premade bra straps
·         Lace for the bra cups
·         Power mesh for the bra band
·         Plush elastic
·         Premade 2 hook fastener
·         A floral motif or fine ribbon as your centre front ‘cake topping”

The bra band has all the notion and cutting instructions on it

This was the first lace option I thought about buying.

This rose lace mesh was my choice because you could see the flowers over the tricot layer.

These are all the bits and pieces I had to work with.

Beverly’s craftsy bra class suggests ironing the under wire casing into a curve before sewing it in.

Sewing the bra strap elastic works well using three step zig zag stitching.

Above is where I had to figure out if the bra band matched the hook size. The plush elastic I used added width to the band so I had to adjust the back bra band to work with the hook fasteners I had on hand.

Here’s the final test bra with pre-made straps.

Below are the construction steps I’ve made for myself that I’m happy for you to use.
Construction steps:
Step 1: Pin tracing paper to each bra piece and roughly draw the pattern shapes  #wingedit
Step 2: Add 6mm seams on all pieces and mark the grainline, if you can figure out where it is #wingedit
Step 3: Keep the zombie bra with you while you follow pattern instructions from a similar pattern. I used Beverly Johnson’s Pin Up Girls pattern that I bought from Sarah of Sew Squirrel.
Step 4: Take a deep breath and make up the first bra.
Step 5: Try it on and then adjust the pattern pieces.
Step 6: Cut out and make up your ‘bra of success’.

Caveat: If you ask your partner what they think of your first test bra, their smile and lack of words will indicate they’re your partner for life…and that’s all I’m saying.

Want to make a matching set?
Make sure you buy enough lace for to sew up 2 ‘bottoms’ of your choosing, as well as cotton lining and matching elastic and follow the same steps.

Bella for Winter

It’s Winter but not freezing so I chose Bella as my first Simple Sew pattern as part of Claire’s new Simple Sew blogger team.

Bella is designed for the ‘adventurous beginner’ so the timing was right to try this pattern now using a warm jersey knit from White Tree Fabrics UK.
Here’s the 10-12-12 party dress version.

“The Bella Dress is celebration of vintage inspired design with a modern edge. The bell shaped sleeves are a definite nod to the swinging sixties, with flattering darts to accentuate your waist and a modern funnel neck . This dress is a winter wardrobe essential you will look gorgeous AND be cosy and warm!”

I chose this awesome warm jersey from White Tree Fabrics.

This jersey has good stretch across the width and minimal stretch for the length.

The pattern

Notions – an invisible zipper is all you need, and matching thread of course.
I forgot to order an invisible zipper so I used a similar colour zip from my stash.

I checked the measurements on the pattern and mocked up a 10-12-10 shape with length adjustment so Bella landed above the knees.


This jersey fabric was wide so I used the 60″ layplan used in the instructions.

I washed the fabric and then overlocked the edges using a three-thread stitch. This allowed the fabric to remain light-weighted. A four-thread stitch made the edges too heavy for me .

Step 1: Mark the darts and stitch them in place.

I tend to pin darts in place before sewing them.

As the instructions state, there’s no need to back-stitch these darts.

Back-stitching this jersey would have created ridges that I didn’t need.

Below are the front darts sewn but not ironed.

Ironing made the dart disappear but the ‘required’ shaping remained.

Step 2: Stitch the shoulder seams right sides together.

I used a layer of tricot to reinforce the shoulder seams. This is a technique I use to keep knits from bagging out of shape over time.

Step 3: 

Sew a running stitch on the sleeve curve so you can gather it to fit the arm hole.

Step 4: This jersey had enough stretch so I didn’t need the gather stitch. I was able to sew the sleeve in with a slight stretch as I sewed. This jersey is really awesome to sew.

Step 5:
Sew the side seams from the dress hem through to the sleeve hem. Only do this for the right-hand side of the dress.

Sew the left-hand side of the dress from the bust dart up to the sleeve hem. 
You’ll be sewing in the zipper on the left-hand side of the dress.
Step 6: Stitch the funnel neck together.

Step 7: Turn the dress inside out and insert the funnel neck with its wrong side facing the right side of the dress bodice.

Here’s where I pinned the centre front and centre back so I had the funnel neck seam in the right position.

Here’s the finished neckline viewed from the inside.

Step 8: Turn the dress so its the right way around and pin the zip in place.

Step 9: Pin one side of the zip in place and sew. Then sew the other side of the zip in place.
I pre-iron the teeth of the invisible zipper out and use an invisible zipper foot to sew in the zipper.

Here’s the inside view.

The outside is invisible. The zipper pull is just under the bust dart.

This pic gives you a better idea of the finished zipper.

Step 10: Turn the dress inside out and from the last stitches where the zipper is sewn, complete the stitching to the hem.

Step 11: Turn up the sleeve hem and dress hems up 0.5cm and sttich them closed. I used twin needle to hem this dress.

I’ve coverstitched the sleeve hem and the thread blend into it.

This is the size 14 hip version. It’s great to wear at the office.

This has a bit more wiggle room for this work dress.
Thank you Claire for adding me to your blogger team. You’ve designed some really flattering styles that I’m eager to test out.

This dress was really Simple to sew.

Cersei inspired wrap coat

Did you see Cersei’s war-like costumes with awesome shoulder detailing at the end of Series 6 Game of Thrones? 

That’s why I made this wrap coat using chain detailing, New Look 6785 coat and dark purple brocade fabric.

A very regal coat kit from Minerva Crafts UK. 

I have used this fabric before in blue for a gorgeous hoodie last year in April.
I’m so glad this fabric is always available through Minerva Crafts.

I used the size 10 jacket and made sure it was the right length before I cut out the pieces.

But I took my time so I could get all the jacket pieces cut from the fabric I ordered.
Each coat piece was overlocked because this jacket is not lined. 

The collar and facings are interfaced and of course, this coat has shoulder pads.

The jacket came together really fast and that’s why I bought this pattern many moons ago. 

The fun part was working out the shoulder detailing.

 I used 8 lots of waxed thread to sew on the chain to each shoulder. 

It took a bit of work to make sure the chains were even on both shoulders.

I hand sewed the chain to the shoulders on Sunday and I used the shoulder pads as the guide.

This is a fairly easy wrap coat to make and wear so the chains that Vicki suggested really blend into the fabric.

From this picture you can see that I can still move my arms and the chains don’t restrict my movement. There’s no way I’d live Cersei’s life but I do admire her costumes.

Thanks Vicki for all your advice about what chains to use on this fabric. The chains worked so well with the fabric and the hand sewing was worth the effort.

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Donna Karan jigsaw

These Donna Karan (vogue 1378) trousers were such a jigsaw to me. I made these last year but I’ve only been wearing them this Winter.

There are now some really good reviews on the trousers so here were my alterations.
My project challenges
I had to figure out where to shorten these without affecting each piece of this puzzle.
My shapely leg meant some shaping with these trouser pieces.

Not having enough fabric in the same colour to test the first version.

I used a dark purple at the back of the ankles.
What worked for me
This shows where I pinched the centre front seam to lower it without affecting the waistline shaping.

I used anther legging pattern to test the leg shaping.

Then I looked at where I wanted to shorted the pieces but I couldn’t figure out what pieces to shorten. So I numbered each piece to the line drawing.

For the length, well I let that one go because I have shortened the pants at mid thigh level but I knew the bottom pieces still needed to be shortened.

The body curves were adjusted the way I usually adjust trouser curve.  Drop the centre back curve. Lengthen the centre back curve for more room. Shorten the centre front seam.

There wasn’t enough grey ponte so I chose a dark purple ponte and placed that at the back of the calve and as the lower leg facings.

This pattern is pieced together by overlaying the pieces but I did normal seams at the top of the trousers with some topstitching. I kept the overlaying pieces for the lower leg.

Pattern piece changes

Once I’d sewn the leg pieces up, I compared it to my legging pattern and saw I needed to lop off another 3″ off the leg piece. So I’ll save that for another version. The pattern pieces have been adjusted.

And that’s how I made this puzzle work.