Minerva make – Chillin’

Welcome 2015 with a new John Kaldor dress from Minerva Crafts UK using Vogue 1344 for Summer. Yes. We’re in the middle of Summer and in Sydney it’s usually hot, humid but it’s also a month of celebrations and a loose dress that breathes is what gets me through this fabulous weather.

John Kaldor fabrics
Both fabrics have 55% linen and 45% cotton: navy/ivory and red/cream.
They washed nicely; kept their colour; ironed nicely and creased a bit. Good linen crushes so I expected this from these two fabrics. What I also expected was for these fabrics to be scratchy but they’re soft and they softened on washing them. It was lovely to iron this dress during construction because it made my sewing look impressive.

I expected good results from a John Kaldor fabric and I got it. Well I used John Kaldor lawn for my December make and the fabric and the dress were a Christmas success.

Vogue 1344
My Google image researchshowed this pattern was a Summer favourite and with the amount of eating in the lead up to the New Year, an easy dress was needed for the New Year.
The testdress showed up a couple of areas I needed to ‘tweak’.

I took out one of the front shoulder pleats. 

The front neckline was also shortened by 2cm so it didn’t fall open.
I added 2cm to the back shoulder line and took off 2cm from the front shoulder line.
The front overlay was a bit too heavy for me so I folded out the curve at the waistline.
I took out some of the skirt hem width but used the longest hem as it sits above my knees. Just right for me.
And I also decided to pleat the front overlay instead of adding more gathers to what was going to be a gathered waistline using the elastic.
So now I have an easy to wear dress for the Summer. My version is unlined. That’s another great aspect of using these John Kaldor fabrics for Summer.
It sits away from my body but keeps me cool.
This dress is so easy to wear and feels comfortable.
This has been an easy dress to make for 2015. And isn’t it always the way that once you’ve made a great dress using great fabric you kick yourself for not getting more of it? I used every piece of the navy/ivory print but have a bit of the red/cream print to use another day…

Wishing you all a great 2015.

McCalls 6657 tech notes

Just for something different – a coat McCalls 6657 View C.

We’re still feeling the cold this winter and I’ll reveal this little gem on Thursday. If you’re on Instagram you would have spotted the progress photo.

This pattern is rated easy and is not lined, however my fabric is wool so I wanted to line it. Hence this tech note post.

This coat has a facing so I’ve laid the facing onto the front pattern piece and draft the remaining lining piece with 1cm overlap for seam allowance. 

I did the same to develop the centre back lining and kept the centre back seam for some lining wiggle room.

Pocket change

Pockets are the same shape for most patterns. I find they are too deep so here’s how I shorted the pocket without affecting the pocket opening and still keep the general shape too. This isn’t a huge change, it means I can reach into the base of the pocket without overreaching #petite.

Plaid matching
Then comes the plaid matching exercise as the back piece has a centre back seam. I eliminated it and cut the fabric on the fold. Then I had to line up the plaid pieces to the front.

This fabric is from Minerva Crafts UK. I cut the front and back pieces as doubles because the plaids line up evenly.

Inside niceness
This is a coat so I made sure to add some coat trims. What you can see below is the back neck facing trim I’ve been using on this coat to double as a coat hook. Neat trick.

The lining has a centre back fold. And the trim was added on each facing piece after I sewed the lining pieces.

See you on Thursday.

Jackie: Proportions

A lot has been written about proportions for sewists.

Jackie is semi-fitted. This means there is room to wear layers underneath so the key fitting area is at the shoulders and neckline. 
Threads has a good article about adjusting patterns for your size. It’s a tried and tested article.

BurdaStyle has a good post about petite adjustments
Craftsy writer Julia posted some details about petite pattern sizing
Bunny at LaSewist petites her patterns from the word go.

Personally I’ll check a few points on the pattern and see if they match with my proportions
– shoulder to bust; shoulder to waist, 
– neck to shoulder
– shoulder to hips
– pocket placement.

One thing to keep in mind, these are not rules. If you love jackets with amazing features, factor these features in. I did a Google search on ‘oversize badly made jackets’ and frankly they all looked great to me.

Jackie can be your statement jacket of the season if you use oversized collars and pockets.

BurdaStyle has a post about shortening and lengthening patterns.
Adjusting patterns for tall people isn’t my area of expertise but there are lots of sewing bloggers who are.

Lena has already covered the basics for adding and removing length to your pattern.

Pattern changes to balance this jacket for your shape is what I focus on. 

Bust darts
All I’m going to say here is wear the right support. Check where your bust sits and then adjust the dart for your reality. I reduced the dart by 2.5cm.

A standard pocket can be too deep for small hands. A standard pocket might not be big enough for your needs ie, wallet, phone, organiser, wads of cash.

And standard pocket placement can be lower or higher than your arm’s reach.

On skirts and pants, I shorten my pockets. Basic pocket patterns tend to end at mid-thigh on me, when they should end at the top of your thigh. So I tend to cut them back so they can at least fit a credit card in my pocket ie. no longer than 6cm or 2 1/2″ if the pocket starts at my waist.


The pocket bag is a bit deep for me so I’ve skimmed 2.5cm off the pocket base. When I make Jackie again, I’ll place the pocket 2.5cm towards the side seams.

Again, you might have a Cleopatra neckline so your collar needs to be wider.


I tend to slim back my collars so they don’t cut into my chin ie, lack of neck:)

I lowered the collar 1cm from the top so that it covers my neck in the cold but not feel like I’m being strangled. However I took another 0.5cm off the collar when I sewed the facing to the collar. 

Note: I dropped the buttonhole on the collar by 1cm so it would still sit centred on the slimmed collar. This is a decision you can either make or disregard.

Sleeve cuff
This is another proportion decision you might consider.

You can make your sleeve cuff wider for a feature or slim it back. The choice is yours. I kept the sleeve cuff and kept it wide. This doesn’t affect how I wear Jackie and the sleeve cuff is part of it’s style.

Too much to take in?If this is all too much information to digest, make a test version out of calico and see how the test jacket fits on you. This approach is the safest method and you can practice those bound buttonholes and welt pockets with less stress.

If you have very little spare time to test the pattern, measure the widths and length of your suggested size minus the seam allowance and check those measurements on you. This takes a whole lot less time to achieve than making a test version. This is a risky approach, so take all the measurements twice!