SewRetroBatwings – Vogue 1337

This was going to be a classy DVF-inspired wrap dress…

The wrap dress that wasn't - Vogue 1337

The wrap dress that wasn’t – Vogue 1337

Then I woke up the morning I was planning to sew… and decided that the wrap dress had somehow morphed into a batwing mini dress.

Vogue 1337 for Minerva Crafts

Vogue 1337

I’d love to explain my creative process to reach this point – however it was one of my more random, arm-waving last moment decisions… I just suddenly didn’t want a wrap dress… and I needed a retro batwing mini in my life.

Vogue 1337

Vogue 1337

Thankfully Vicki at Minerva Crafts was more than accommodating at the last minute!   This pattern screams 80s to me… massive shoulders, batwings, slender skirt… you know – some times clothing should just be fun… too many people take their threads far too seriously! This is fun – fun to make & fun to wear.

Vogue 1337

Vogue 1337

I think for my first venture into the world of batwings and 80s power dressing, the option of making this in black made moving outside my comfort zone easier. I know lots of bloggers become enamoured of sewing knits – some even appear to be addicted and sew little else. I’m not one of those girls, I’m still grappling with the techniques required for a good finish…

There is a great big long post over at Minerva with more pictures – and information about how I attached the elastic to the sleeves and waistline… go forth and read…

Vogue 1337 - clear elastic

My elastic attachment.

No I didn’t make the self fabric belt… and I changed the neckline to have a narrow binding rather than a facing because the pattern facing is the work of the devil… all the details are over at Minerva 🙂

Pattern: Vogue 1337
Fabric: Black knit from Minerva Crafts.
Kit: available here.

Timeless: Vogue 1351 for Minerva Crafts

Vogue 1351 - the neckline

Vogue 1351 – the neckline

When Vogue 1351 was released, I was underwhelmed. The styling, the fit and photography – it does the dress no favours – I look at the models and think EAT A HAMBURGER & STAND UP STRAIGHT! Despite that I kept returning to it, perhaps because I am a cowl junkie (see here, here and here for evidence)…

Vogue 1351 - who wore it better...

Vogue 1351 – I look positively beefy here and I’m a towering 5 foot 4 & weigh in under 50kg.

I’m glad I did. It’s simply lovely. It’s not fancy, it’s not attention seeking… it’s just quietly ‘there’. Simple clean lines…

Vogue 1351, front view

Vogue 1351, front view

I know that bias-cut patterns scare some people. However the simplicity of this dress means that the construction is simple, there are minimal seams to stretch out, very few seamlines to match. The skirt skims and flares. The bodice is simple and drapes. The fit is not complex. I love bias.

This triple crepe fabric is quite heavy but falls nicely. I think the weight of the fabric lends itself well to a bias cut as it’s more forgiving over any lumps or bumps than a clingier knit fabric.

Kathryn and Laura have also made this crepe up and both commented about how it frays. As all my pieces, except the back piece, were cut on the bias, fraying was not an issue for me.

Vogue 1351, back view

Vogue 1351, back view. The skirt on this dress is simply lovely.

Here is the good news…

  • Lining: 5 pieces & Shell: 5 pieces.
  • Zip: invisible
  • Just two darts in the front bodice lining. There are no tucks, no pleats.

The dress is beautifully lined. The cowl attaches to the lining and the inside of the dress is fabulous.

You could just line the bodice if you are not a lining fan.

Vogue 1351 - interior

Vogue 1351 – interior

I adore the colour of this fabric – it’s not too purple if that makes sense. And there have been two recent Minerva makes from exactly the same shade of triple crepe – there is something about the aubergine (Kathryn’s New Look dress * Laura’s Lisette Dress)… I almost made this in ‘jade’ which I think would be gorgeous… and black would be absolutely perfection as a LBD…. note to self: make this in black…

Lining a sleeveless dress is a little bit fiddly. I needed to concentrate (ie not tweet) when attaching the cowl to the lining and bodice – and joining the shoulders.

I lined this dress with a heavier than usual ‘Italian anti static’ polyester/viscose lining. It was lovely to work with – and much easier to cut out and handle than bemsilk for a change.

Things I did differently..

  • The patterns asks you to sew above and below where you insert the zip. It’s an invisible zip and I could see no good reason to make the zip insertion more difficult. I inserted it as per a usual invisible zip insertion and sewed the seam above and below the zip afterwards.
  • I also found sewing the lining to the dress waistline very tricky after sewing the lining to the zipper tape. I would sew the lining to the waistband first next time… I think!

This dress construction is not rocket science. It’s simple yet lovely. It doesn’t need a billion pleats, pockets or design features. It just is what it is and it works.

Things I would do differently…

I should have interfaced the seam where the zip is inserted. It does ripple slightly. Not enough to be a bother but I do notice it.

The pattern features a narrow rolled hem. My last Minerva project I showed how to do this – this time I used a rolled hem foot as I got one for my birthday in November (tricky getting around the side seams though!). At first I didn’t like the rolled hem. I thought the crepe was too heavy for it… but looking at the photos I love the subtle fluting it creates so I think I will leave it. The other way to finish this hem would be creating a facing as Sam, another Minerva Blogger, did with her pink crepe skirt.

Pattern: Vogue 1351, made as a size 6, no alterations.
Fabric: Triple Crepe in Aubergine from Minerva Crafts.
Kit: available from Minerva Crafts.

Also see (fabric): Laura | Kathryn
Also see (pattern): Little Betty | Sunny Gal Studio | Very Purple Person

I’m lucky enough to be able to stop at the beach after work and stroll across the sand like this… I know, life is tough…

Vogue by the seashore

Vogue by the seashore

A VERY Merry Christmas Skirt! Vogue 8882 – Minerva Blogger Network

Hooray! I am in a state of shock – while I did not manage to punch out a birthday or Christmas make in 2012 – this year I have done both!

Last week it was the Hot Mess Birthday dress – a rather complicated but very pretty and enormously satisfying make.

This week I have my first Minerva Bloggers’ Network project to share.

A Very Merry Christmas Skirt

With my Minerva makes I wanted to make things that I felt anyone (any age, any shape) could wear, sew and feel fabulous in. I also wanted the kit to have pretty much everything they needed to start sewing, or at least most of it… the fabric, pattern and thread. So once you have pounced on the postman, you can rip open the envelope and get sewing. You might need the odd notion or some interfacing – but many stitchers do have these things in ‘the stash’.

I’ve always wanted a ‘Christmas’ skirt or dress but never quite got around to making one (and I have rather a lot of party clothes anyway…). The festive season hits and life is a merry-go-round of parties, concerts, holidays, meals, drinks, family and friends. Life gets busy – no time for sewing…

So make that Christmas skirt now! I’ve chosen a project that will minimise your time at the sewing machine and maximise your time at the party.

I know. I’m good to you 🙂

Vogue 8882

Vogue 8882

I’ve been eyeing off this skirt since Vogue released it – even though big skirts aren’t really my gig I just fell in love with it. When I spied this this lovely shot WINE taffeta on the Minerva site, I felt it was a match made in heaven.

The taffeta transforms in different lights…

Vogue 8882 as the sun grows down

Vogue 8882 as the sun grows down

The colour transforms when the setting sun hits it!

The colour transforms when the setting sun hits it! hmmmm, I have that bronzed Aussie look going on as we approach summer…

Bows and frills scare me BUT I can’t imagine the skirt without that monstrous sash and bow. It’s perfection…

As my Christmas Day is never ‘white’ except for the sand on the beach, I paired by skirt with a simple cream tank top and rose gold strappy heels. I think this skirt could easily be translated into a wintery wear – the claret tone looks gorgeous with black (yes, I experimented for you too).

You can read lots more over on the Minerva site… so go over there for more pictures and how-to.

My major changes were…

  • Invisible zipper instead of standard.
  • I did a roll hem. My legs would look like toothpicks coming out of a even oomph-ier (yes, that’s a technical term) skirt.. If you like lotsa ‘oomph’ I’m guessing you have some petticoats stashed for this purpose!
  • Taffeta is not a fan of iron-on interfacing – use sew-in. Listen to SewBossyLizzy and weep no more.

So let’s twirl together this festive season… I know you want to…

This skirt is loads of fun to wear… it even rustles! I’m not a gentled-footed creature. I sound like a mini herd of elephants stampeding through the African grasslands but I’m ok with that.

Giddy with Happy Happy Joy Joy.

…giddy with Happy Happy Joy Joy… and I’d just like to let you know that it takes a lot of concentration to not wedge a stiletto heel into timber decking! Check out the Minerva site where I’m spinnin’ like a whirlgig.

Miss 8 teaches me to party with attitude!

Miss 8 teaches me to party with attitude!

Pattern: Vogue 8882
Fabric: Wine shot taffeta.
Kit available from Minerva Fabrics – you know you want to – I’ve done all the shopping and pattern testing for you! Sew one and party on (perhaps Miss 8 should do a blog post about party style – she’s got it down to a fine art)

If you are concerned about shipping costs… I purchased 4m of this blue fabric from Minerva (apparently I’m a Shimmer Twill piglet – I need MOAH) and the shipping was just 10 pounds and arrived in no time at all. Love.


I’m a Minerva Blogger!

Minerva Bloggers Network

I’m in the gang along the likes of Winnie of Scruffy Badger, Clare of Sew Dixie Lou, Miss Dibs, Emmie of My Oh Sew Vintage Life, Handmade Jane, Seamstress Erin, Kathryn of Yes I like That!, Rachel of House of Pinheiro, Nicole Needles, Shivani of Pins & Needles, Anna of ::Paunnet::… and Maria of How Good is That also from Australia! Plus there is a number of other bloggers in the mix… so I will be loading up the good ole blog reader with more blogs to follow… because it’s not bursting at the seams already!

Now… in this gang there is no hanging out behind the school toilets, smoking cigerettes and kissing boys. There is no time for such frivolity (maybe just at morning tea…*giggles*) , this gang is spread across the globe… slaving over our machines, and keyboards, smelling of sewing machine oil and covered in stray threads… yes ma’am – we are all about glamour!!

Each month I search through the Minerva site (which requires several bottles of Gatorade as their site is GINORMOUS…. they are one the UK’s largest stockists of fabric, yarn, and all a myriad of craft supplies. I seriously thought I was going to have to send up an emergency flare so someone could find me and drag me out of the fabric section late one night!!). I choose some supplies, fabric, patterns and then sew to inspire you!

If you get such a blogger crush on the project, the good news is Minerva can help you there too! Yes, you too can be just like me and buy a kit of my project. I know it’s going to be such fun, I’m picturing a happy little hoard of SewBusyLizzys trotting about the globe in fancy frocks and whatnot (fret not, I don’t demand that you sew at the same pace that I do – and sorry, I’m fairly certain I can’t kit up my hometown sun, surf and sand, you will have to close your eyes and imagine… or buy a tardis…).

My first project appears on 25 November (five days after my birthday.. just sayin’). I’m excited as it’s going to be The Skirt of Happy Happy Joy Joy. And if you like it – you can grab the kit from Minerva (patience, 25 November – there is stacks of time before Christmas) and on Christmas Day we can all clutch our bottles of bubbly in our SewBusyLizzy Skirts of Happy Happy Joy Joy and celebrate together in a weird virtual way!

I like happy – it’s my favourite state of mind. I do an excellent impersonation of a fire-breathing dragon but I do try to keep her in the wardrobe along with my drunk monkey. So let’s sew and be happy.

Hop over to Minerva and check out all the gorgeous talented virtual gang (if I don’t say so myself) – and maybe you will spot on of their kits that you simply must have… but don’t forget… The Skirt of Happy Happy Joy Joy is coming your way in November 🙂

Mwah… ’tis all for tonight xoxo