Helen’s Closet Ashton Top and Donovan Skirt – my first make as a Minerva Maker!

Helen’s Closet Ashton top and Donovan skirt in chambray from http://www.minerva.com

I’m very excited to be joining the Minerva Makers’ team and this is my first post using the fabric they kindly sent me for free. There is no other payment involved.
I chose this blue all-cotton chambray from the hundreds of fabrics available to me. I always love a chambray and the delicate white flower pattern on this caught my eye.
Minerva dark blue chambray:
Chambray is a very easy fabric to work with and this was no exception. I wash all fabrics before cutting out because some will inevitably shrink so I washed this at 30 degrees and line-dried it with no problems.

Got both from 2.5 metres – with some fabric origami!

I had asked for 2.5 metres and I managed to squeeze both this Ashton top and Donovan skirt (both from Helen’s Closet) because the fabric is 150cm wide.
Ashton: https://helensclosetpatterns.com/product/ashton-top-pdf-pattern/
Donovan: https://helensclosetpatterns.com/product/donovan-skirt-pdf-pattern/

Cedar Dolman top and Glebe Pants

The plain linen top is the Cashmerette Cedar Dolman and the blue linen trousers are the Glebe Pants from Muna and Broad.
Cedar: https://www.cashmerette.com/products/cedar-dolman-top-pdf-pattern
Glebe: https://www.munaandbroad.com/products/glebe-pants

Ashton back cut in two pieces to stretch fabric further

I won’t necessarily wear these together but lately I’ve been stash-busting as I go along by making sleeveless tops. I often end up with some fabric left full width, enough to make the front on the fold as usual; and then a long strip that I can use to cut the back in two separate pieces (adding seam allowances).

Bias binding on neckline and arm holes

I also managed to cut enough bias to bind the neck, armholes and the hem of the top. I had continuous strips for the neck and the armholes and pieced the bias tape for the hem. I used the binding attachment on my Babylock cover stitch for this. This works really well with a nice stable cotton like this chambray.

Binding by machine changes the order of construction

The assembly for this type of construction is:
• I stay stitch neckline and armholes;
• I sew one shoulder seam, bind the neckline;
• sew the other shoulder seam, bind the armholes;
• sew one side seam, bind the hem;
• sew remaining side seam.
I tack the seam allowance down at the beginning and end of the seams by hand.

Ashton alterations

I had already changed this pattern to fit me by:
• doing a 3/4” forward shoulder adjustment, which is standard for me.
• a 2.5” (1.25” either side) full bust adjustment as described on the Curvy Sewing Collective (see link below), because my high bust falls into size 16, ie 40” but my full bust is 46.5.
As well as the FBA I cut from the shoulders down to below the bust at size 16 and then graded out to size 20 at the hips. My hips are 2” larger than size 20, but that was taken care of by the full bust adjustment.
I love the fit of this top now especially on the shoulders and neck.

No pattern changes needed for Donovan skirt – yay!

Yay, for the Donovan skirt I made no changes whatsoever to the pattern! Shurely shome mishstake! No I happen to fit exactly into their size 22 which is 40” for waist and 50” for hips. I had initially held off buying this pattern as I thought, ‘sure I could draft that myself’. But it’s been getting such good reviews I decided to give it a go – especially since the chambray is just perfect for this type of skirt. And I’m so glad I did. I can see making more of these in cotton lawn or silk too.

I did change the construction steps a little. The pocket piece given is one large piece and I always change those because to me that doesn’t make good use of the fabric. So I cut it in two and added seam allowances. I then attached them in the standard way. I also added interfacing to the pocket edge on the main skirt piece – which I didn’t see in the pattern. But it avoids sagging and gives a nice crisp edge. This also meant that I could use a different fabric from my stash for the pocket lining. I had eked out the chambray as far as it could go!

I used bias binding on the skirt hem before turning it up. I like the finish this gives and I always do it on a skirt with slits. I had used the rest of the binding up so used some homemade binding from my stash.
The waist drawstring did not need to be cut on the bias so I had enough fabric to make that from two strips sewn together.
Both these patterns are really easy to sew. And a nice stable, soft fabric with some drape, like this chambray works really well.

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