Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Animal Glow Peppermint Playsuit hack

I don't know if you are aware but Minerva have created their own range of exclusive fabrics and I was lucky enough to be given the chance to sew one of them up. This is the Minerva Exclusive Viscose Challis in Animal Glow print.

I excitedly waited weeks for this to arrive and was away when it finally came through the letterbox. I had much excitement as I opened the bag to discover this beautiful drapey fabric.
The fabric is a white substrate with the design printed on top. It is a fine challis with a lovely handle and drapes beautifully and doesn’t crease too much either. Perfect for the very hot weather we are having right now.

I decided weeks and weeks ago what I would make with this. In fact I had the idea last year and have just been waiting for the ideal fabric to do this in. I’m not really an animal print sort of girl, but when I saw this and in this colourway I knew it was a perfect match.

The pattern is a hacked version of the free Peppermint/ In the folds playsuit pattern. The pattern can be downloaded free from the Peppermint magazine website, but you can pay as you wish if you are able to support them.

I have made the playsuit before - in recycled jeans for my daughter. We are the same size so I knew it would be a good base. I cut a straight size C (could have actually gone with the B in this fabric). I lengthened and widened the legs so they were more like a palazzo pant leg and omitted the patch pockets. I figured that they wouldn’t work so well in such a light fabric. Instead, I added one inseam pocket on the opposite side to the zip.

Otherwise I kept the construction the same. I added interfacing to the straps and the facing and should really have added a strip to the top edge of the bodice as it did roll a bit, despite understitching it. This was easily solved by stitching the facing to the shell along the seam lines - essentially stitching in the ditch. I can’t even tell where the stitching is and I’m wearing it right

I used the overlocker to neaten and finish all the seams and the hems are a 3 step baby hem, which is perfect on this fabric.

Viscose challis is notoriously shifty to cut and sew, but I found this really stable. It didn’t stretch out of shape at all during construction, but it is well worth stay stitching this type of fabric.

My top tips for working with viscose challis:
Overlock the edge of the fabric before pre-washing to prevent any shredding.
Don’t trim seam allowances too closely to avoid holes developing later.
Use a new microtex needle for sewing.
Use a light interfacing with some stretch on light fabrics such as this - it helps prevent bubbling of the fabric over time and still keeps the characteristics of the fabric while providing support.
I think I might just be wearing this a lot this week - without the t-shirt as it is so cool against the skin.

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Vogue 1524 Review


Hello, Hello everyone. I’m so pleased to be able to share this make with you all! This is a high-neck, open-backed jumpsuit from vogue patterns. I’ve had my eye on this one for a while. And when I got a wedding invite, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to make this. I made it entirely out of cotton sateen with a slight stretch.

First up, the pattern - it’s V1524 and it is a great intermediate pattern. You really need to know how to construct a garment and deal with seams and raw edges as this pattern does not hold your hand. The instructions are adequate but brief. I first came unstuck with the welt pockets - I managed to sew the welts the wrong way and had to unpick them after I’d slashed open the pocket.


Hence they are not quite as neat as I would like - I’m used to using a different method and I didn’t find this one particularly satisfactory, It was quite fiddly. However, this was the only part of the construction that I didn’t really like. The bodice construction is quite unique but does result in a very neat finish, with all seams enclosed. 

I cut a straight size 12 after comparing my measurements to the size chart. I added extra length to the trouser hem as I want to wear these with high heels and needed to ensure they were long enough. I’m glad I did as the extra 5 cm is perfect.

I added about 2cm to the bodice length at the bottom to allow me to fit my long torso. And that was about right. I also added some length to the back band as on my first draft it was just a little bit snug.

The fabric was a cotton sateen with slight stretch from Minerva. This pattern calls for a knit fabric for the bodice and a stable woven for the trousers so it was a bit of a risk cutting the whole thing from the same fabric. The bodice is self-lined and the pocket linings are some cotton lawn I had in my stash (these are something I’d change- I’m not happy about the finish on them).

The fabric was easy to sew and pressed well and had enough stretch to accommodate the bodice pattern, but I do feel a knit fabric would be more comfortable here. The stretch allows the trousers to be comfortable, but I think I really need a tiny bit more room at the hip.

I love that this fabric has a slight sheen that gives an elegant touch to the garment. It is a stunning design and very eyecatching. I really would like to have another go at this in a crepe/ knit combo.

I also inserted bra cups and attached them to the bodice lining, as there is no way you could wear a bra with this. I am having second thoughts about this as a wedding outfit, simply from a practical point of view. This might be quite tricky to get in and out of to go to the loo. Mostly due to the separating zipper at the top part of the bodice. I can just about manage it, but it’s not easy and I’m not sure it will be easy when I’ve had a glass of wine or two and using outside loos!

The pattern calls for a parachute-style buckle for the back band, instead, I opted for a 25mm silver Bikini clasp, which I think is a much better option. The trousers close with a centre-back invisible zipper. I think this is the first time I’ve used a back zip on trousers. So while this is a stunning garment and very elegant If you need an accessible pattern, this probably is not one for you. I need help doing this one up, so for anyone with mobility issues, this is not user-friendly with 3 different back fastenings. 

The jury is still out as to whether I will wear this for the wedding or make something else. I suppose it will depend on how long it takes to make my husband's suit. That will be a project worth sharing - I hope

Friday, 6 May 2022

Scrap busting

Sewing clothing creates loads of scrap fabrics. Periodically I purge my stash and make a quilt. It's a great way to use up small remnants of fabric.

I have just finished piecing together the top of this quilt. It is not perfect, some of the edges are a little bit off and not all the points meet, but I'm not making it for competion or show. It's just for home.

The top is made completely of sewing off cuts, some of which I have had for years. The 'batting' is a flannel sheet which came from my mother in law and the backing is made from an old quilt cover donated by my mum and dyed with Dylon dye gifted from my local buy nothing group. So this really is a re-use item. It will find it's home on our bed once it's completed. 

It's all pinned together and quilting it is the next step. I'm keeping this one simple and just following the design lines of the quilt. 

Friday, 29 April 2022

Cropped Hoodie

As my latest obession is skating. I have been considering clothing that is suitable for skating in. During the Spring and Autumn. It can be quite cold, but once you get warmed up, you don't really need a coat, but a hoodie is perfect. I have a fab hoodie that I wear a lot in the winter, but it is long and doesn't really go with my high waist trousers and wide legged jeans. I also wanted something that would serve as a cover up if I wanted to wear a longer dress or skirt, that wouldn't make me look like a sack.

I decided to use the Assembly Line hoodie dress as a basis for this make. It's drafted for a woven, but it is loose enough to work with this stretch fabric. I've used this pattern multiple times and the bodice makes a great woven t shirt.


I didn't have to make very many changes. I did lengthen the bodice by about 3 cm and then added on the hem band, which I cut slightly shorter than the circumference of the top. I considered leaving it unfinished on the bottom hem and that would have worked too.

The only other change I made was to make a hood lining in the same fabric rather than just adding a facing and I think this works perfectly.

The fabric is a dream to work with for a stretch fabric it is nice and stable and doesn't roll too much. It presses well, although I do recommend a press cloth.

This was a super quick make and only took one afternoon to finish it, and I've already worn it out for skating on numerous occasions. Perfect for cool spring days when I would be too warm in a coat, but it's still too cool to wear just shirt sleeves.

I think this will be super versatile - it is great for skating due to the length, I think it could also work over the top of a dress as an extra layer and this colour is just fantastic.


Friday, 22 April 2022

Pattern Review: New Look 6299


I love a fit and flare dress. So when Minerva offered me the chance to review New Look 6299, I jumped at it!
The pattern has princess seams and the option of cap sleeve or ¾ sleeves. There is a boat neckline or a shirt collar - or plain jewel neck if you prefer. There are optional godets that will add more swing to the skirt. The skirt length is just above knee length but could easily be shortened to tunic length or lengthened to suit your preferences.

Originally I planned to sew this in a range of different plaid fabrics I had in my stash - but they were mainly polyester and of different weights and very different colour and patterns combinations. Once I had cut them out I realised I hated the combination. I raided my stash and found some more of the waxed cotton that I used for this Kalle dress.


It was a bit of pattern Tetris and I did have to piece one of the side back panels to get everything out of the fabric I had.

I decided to make view A - which is the cap sleeve version with the collar and no godets. I decided that a full-on collar would be a bit much so I used the collar pattern piece to draft a mandarin style collar instead.
There is about 9cm ease on top of body measurements for this pattern. Which is common for the big 4 pattern companies. My measurements put me in a size 12/14, after looking at the finished garment measurements I cut a straight size 10. 

I sewed it up without any adjustments but realised I could have actually made the size 8 and it would have been perfect. The 10 is a little loose in some areas, but not horrifically so. Once sewn I took a smidge off the front princess seams above the bust and a little just below for shaping. I also took in the side seams at the waist. I could have gone further with this, but due to the structure of the fabric I didn’t need to - it holds the shape well.

The sleeves had a lot of ease in the sleeve cap, more than was really necessary, and again due to the nature of the waxed fabric, this was quite tricky to ease in without any puckers. 


I considered shortening the skirt on this to be tunic length but decided to leave it at the full length. I’m  171cm tall, so this will be just above knee length with a small hem. I kept the hem at 2.5cm. 

The dress is constructed with a facing rather than a lining, I think a lining would be a better option. As this is a summer weight fabric I can get away without it. I think this pattern is a good basic dress pattern with lots of options. I think it could be stunning in a brocade, or cotton velvet. I may just make this up as a party dress for next Christmas in velvet, with a detachable collar so I can wear my bling jewellery with it. But for now, this was a stash buster of a project. I’m trying to reduce fabric waste, and I’ve certainly done that with this one.

Friday, 15 April 2022

Hoodie Banket

It's been a while since I shared anything here. I'm still sewing up items on a regular basis but my production has somewhat slowed, so my next few posts will be sharing some of the makes that I haven't blogged about.

First up is the Hoodie Blanket that I made for my daughter as a Christmas present - yes - it was that long ago!!!! This has to be one of my favourite and also easiest makes of last year.
My daughter has discovered a love of dinosaurs in her later teenage years! To the point where she is considering getting a dinosaur tattoo (she hasn't as of yet)! So when I saw this beautiful dino fleece I just knew she would love something made in it.
I  had planned to make my sister a Billy Wearable Blanket, which is a free pattern from Do It Yourself Better Club.

I made that version up in a plain fleece that I bought from a local shop. So I knew that the pattern would work super well for this fabric. The Fleece from Minerva was way superior to the locally bought stuff. It was thicker and more even in texture. It sewed up better and didn’t cause my machine any issues.

I decided to sew up the longer version, my daughter is a student and her room is quite cool so, something cosy to snuggle is is a perfect option. She has also told me it will be great to wear when the fire alarms go off in the middle of the night - don’t you just love student accommodation?

I constructed this pretty much completely on the overlocker, with the exception of the hood and it’s lining which was made from some Jersey from my stash). The pattern calles for rib cuffing, but I couldn’t find a close enough match or anything that would perfectly constrast so they were made from self fabric and are fine. I did check that hands would fit through these as the fabric isn’t very stretchy. One thing to note is that sleeves are quite short. Bear that in mind if you have long limbs.

This has A LOT of ease. I sewed up the XS size and it has plenty of room. The pattern features a hood and a large kangaroo pocket. There are options to make this without the hood or as a fully lined version. It would be a great with a waterproof outer and a fleecy lining as a changing robe for outdoor watersports. Or made in towlling for a beach change/ coverup. However, we like snuggles and comfort and I can say that my daughter has worn this on heavy rotation over the winter months.

She was rather reticent to model for me - so instead she took the photos and I was the model. I did convince her to let me take a quick photo though.


Saturday, 18 December 2021

New Skate Set Up


I've well and truly caught the skating bug. When I was looking to get back into skating, back in March, I wanted to make sure I bought a good pair of skates that I wouldn't need to upgrade quickly. I bought the Chaya Jump 2 skates. These are designed with park skating in mind and while I didn't really intend to do park skating, I've found I really enjoy it and it's allowed me to make lots of new skate friends.

I'm really happy with my park skates on the whole. I do find that my feet get very, very hot in them as they are mostly synthetic, with this in mind I started considering a second pair. I knew I wanted a leather boot that would mould to my foot and then had to decide what style of skate I wanted.


I want to continue to enjoy park skating, do some jam (dance) skating, cruise the streets and give Roller Derby a try. My current skates suit the park, but the wheels are a little soft and I could do with harder ones, especially for the indoor park. I could also do with some slideblocks to enable me to progress in the skatepark. With some harder wheels my current skates would also do for basic roller derby training. so they are staying.

As for dance skating, my current skates are flat and for some of the moves I need my weight to be further over the toe so I knew I needed a boot with a heel. I considered the Bont Parkstar as it has a small internal heel, but ruled it out as I already had park skates. I started looking at Moxi Lolly skates, which are a similar price to the Bont, the Moonlight Roller - which is a bit cheaper and Luna skates, which were out of stock everywhere.


After doing some research I discovered Wifa Skates. Wifa are an Austrian Brand that have been making Ice figure skates since 1920. Recently they have developed boots suitable for rollerskating and the come in a range of lovely colours. The boots are firm but comfy and much more sturdy than the Moxi Lolly. You can buy the boots directly from Wifa and have the option of boot only or two different plate set ups that use a plate designed and made in Italy. I opted for the orange boot only. Since I ordered mine, you can now buy them from Roller Girl Gang and they have a full fitting stock in to try.

My plan was to take my boots with me when I visited my sister in London and visit Double Threat Skates to sort out a plate and have them mounted. However, due to the broken arm, we didn't go to London. Instead I called DTS and had a conversation about a suitable plate and plate mounting. I sent off my boots to them and they fitted my Bont Prodigy plates.


While they were away being mounted, I started to consider wheel options. I knew I needed something big and soft for outdoor skating and something harder for indoor. I managed to get a set of Moxi gummy wheels and bearings on facebook marketplace. These are 78a wheels, which means they are soft and will be great for rough terrain outside. I also bought some Grindstone Smokeshow wheels from Be Good Skates. These are harder at 92a and will be better for skating on smooth surfaces, especially indoor. I wanted something that will work for both skatepark and roller disco, and possibly roller derby. This will be my first time using a harder wheel, so i'll see how I get on.

The final touch is some coloured laces and new skate socks which I got from Roller Girl Gang. I just need to make a new skate leash for hanging them up and carrying them.


By the time they had arrived and were set up my arm was pretty much healed. Unfortunately the weather has taken a turn to the worse and I haven't had much of an opportunity to try them out. I managed a short blast along the prom, but then with Storm Arwen, lots of rain and dark cold nights I haven't been outside in them again. I did notice that the Moxi gummy wheels are brilliant outside, they are as soft as my Chaya wheels, but much bigger so made short work of the rough pavements. I only got to try the Smokeshow wheels on Thursday as I managed to get 1/2hr in the sports hall at work (normally there are loads of clubs on). Short video on insta. They slide a lot more than my other wheels, but I soon got used to them. I'm still getting used to the heeled skates as the weight distribution is different to a flat boot, but it does allow me to get much lower. Hoping to get out some more on these in the next few weeks.


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