Posted in Projects on Monday the 20th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Christmas for me is all about spending time with friends and family, eating yummy food and reminiscing about times gone by. The dining table is a big part of my festive experience from Christmas Eve through to New Year’s Day – with me welcoming loved ones into my home for drinks, nibbles and general chatter.
With this in mind, I wanted to share a quick and simple crafty project with you. Here, I talk you through how to make a festive table runner.
I love Christmas time and giving handmade gifts, so if like me you are searching for something to make this year - this could be the project for you.
I have made two different example table runners both using materials in stock at Minerva Crafts, all of which are linked below:
All of the fabrics are good quality and I felt perfect for making this project.
Supplies Needed for this Project:
Chalk / Pencil / Fabric Pen
Iron / Ironing Board
Two pieces of contrasting Christmas Fabric. The back to be 40cm and the front to be 30cm.
Thread to match your backing fabric (I used the same green cotton to both stitch the inside of my table runner and top stitch the project at the end).
1cm seam allowance is used throughout unless otherwise noted.
Choose your christmas fabric.
Choose which fabric you want on the front and back of your table runner.
For the back you will need 40cm of fabric and for the front you will need 30cm of fabric.
Cut your front and back fabric.
Note: It doesn’t matter what width your fabric is e.g. 45inchs / 60 inches wide as both will look nice. The fabric I used was just under 45inches wide.
The fabric should be cut as a single layer and measured from the narrowest part of the fabric (the fabric should be in a ‘portrait’ position rather than being ‘landscape').
Unless the fabric you are using has an obvious line to follow, I’d recommend marking you cutting line using chalk or a pencil.
You should now have two pieces of fabric that look like the below images. The cream fabric is the front and the green fabric is the back of my table runner.
Pin your fabric together at the long edges – right sides together.
You will have to move the backing fabric to meet the front fabric as they are different widths.
Note: The below image shows one side pinned. You will need to repeat this step on the opposite edge.
Using a 1cm seam allowance – sew in a straight line down both long edges of your table runner. Start at the top of one side – remembering to back tack at the start and end of each side. Then repeat for the opposite side.
The short edges should remain un-stitched at the moment.
Then turn your table runner the right way out (wrong sides together) and place it on the ironing board. It should look like a long tube at the moment.
Using your hands, pull the backing fabric in equal amounts to the sides of your front (centre section) fabric – or as close as you can. This looks like a border at the sides of your front fabric. Then iron in place.
Now fold the table runner in half to form a narrow rectangle shape – the backing fabric should be right sides together.
Then pin the short edge at the top. Ensure all of the edges are the same length. Trim if needed.
Using a 1cm seam allowance - sew the short edge – back tacking at the start and end of the line of stitching. Then repeat this step on the opposite short edge. See image below.
Next turn through the section you just sewed to the front. This forms a triangle shape on the front of the table runner.
Pin along the bottom edge of the triangle and top stitch in place. You will need to sew as close to the bottom edge of the triangle shape as you can. See image below (I’ve included a picture of both the front and back of my table runner at this stage).
The repeat on the opposite end.
Give the table runner a final press with the iron and you are done! I hope you like your new table runner.
And here is another one I made using the other two fabrics mentioned at the beginning of the blog post...
Which is your favourite?
Thanks very much for reading,
Becky @ Notes from the Sewing Room
Posted in Product Reviews on Sunday the 19th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
As an avid sewer, and someone who likes to try anything new or different, I was keen to take part in the Minerva Crafts product testing scheme. The opportunity arose to try this Leaf print stretch Needlecord Fabric and I chose the Burnt Orange.
The colour of this is just so lusciously rich and it’s peppered with a brown variable leaf design. Add to that a random embroidered thread pattern in contrast cream and you get this fabulous abstract fabric! It’s also available in Brown, Green and Olive Green, so plenty of colours to choose from.
I was rather excited when my parcel arrived from Vicki, and this was washed and outside on the line, blowing in the breeze within a couple of hours of posties delivery! It washed well and barely needed any ironing (always a bonus!) but as with most dark colours, wash separately.
There was definitely a tad of orange lurking in the soapy water. Anyway, fabric washed and dried, it was time to cut. As with all fabric with a pile (nap), all pattern pieces need to be cut in the same direction. If you run your fingers up and down the fabric, you can feel the pile. It will feel smooth in one direction and a slightly rougher texture the opposite direction.
Due the abstract design I chose a sewing pattern with quite large pattern pieces and Megan Nielsen’s Brumby Skirt Sewing Pattern was a perfect choice. The corduroy is medium to heavy weight but with fine wales (those vertical ridges) and also a slight stretch. It wasn’t applicable in my case with making a full skirt but that slight stretch is always an added bonus for fitting and comfort of wear!
One thing I noticed is that this corduroy barely frayed. Some you get shed like a dog in summer! Sewing this was also easy. I often find that fabrics with a pile tend to shift around when sewing and using a walking foot helps with that. But I didn’t find the need at all with this corduroy, even with my long seams. I pressed all the seams open and overlocked the edges.
Corduroy always needs to be pressed with the nap side down. A velvet needleboard is excellent for this but these can be pricey! A soft towel works just as well or (as in my case) I used an off cut of the fabric itself, right side up. This is so the pile isn’t crushed whilst pressing.
For the gathering of the waist, I used a zig zag stitch over a narrow cord as recommended by the pattern and it gathers beautifully in this fairly heavy fabric. And, I even managed to add some piping. Well those super huge pockets needed a little showing off! I lined the pockets and the waistband in the same cream fabric that I used for my self-made piping. This was to reduce the bulk.
Overall this was a pleasure to work with and sew. I almost opted for a jacket but I am just so happy that I chose a full skirt instead as it just shows how versatile this fabric can be. It’s not just for jackets, straight or A-line skirts and dungarees!
Thanks for reading,
Dawn @ Dawn-Whitham-Holloway
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 18th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi everyone, it’s Wendy from wendystitch.com, here to review some baby yarn for you.
I have been a knitter since I was a child but I have to admit that I only really knit things for me and very rarely have I knit anything for babies. However, the call from Minerva Crafts for testers of this Baby Yarn came right on the day that we found out my partner’s sister is expecting her first child – it seemed like a sign!
The yarn I am reviewing is Sirdar Snuggly Tiny Tots DK in shade 0986 - a delicious banana yellow with white flecks running through it. There are loads of lovely shades to from and I chose this particular one because, as well as being such a happy colour, it is gender neutral. Perfect for a new-born.
Here’s some more info about the yarn, straight off the label:
Type: Double Knit
Fibre: 90% acrylic, 10% polyester
Yardage: 150 yards/137 metres
Wash method: machine wash at 40 degrees. Can be tumble dried.
The yarn is a 100% manmade and I have a confession to make…. I am a bit of a yarn snob. I usually only knit with good quality natural yarns and the thought of acrylic yarn brings back memories of the cheap, squeaky school jumpers of my youth. However, it seems I have had the wool (pun intended) pulled over my eyes for too long when it comes to acrylic. There is nothing squeaky or cheap looking about this yarn.
What it looks/feels like
Straight from the ball the yarn feels very soft and I would never have guessed that this was acrylic. If I were to compare it to any other fibre I would say that it feels most like cotton. The white textured bits in particular feel very cotton-like.
Knitting with it
It is a double knitting weight yarn and the suggested needle size is 4mm. I decided to test it out by knitting a baby cardigan, knit seamlessly from the top down, with a slip stitch pattern around the yoke, a garter stitch button band and a stocking stitch body. I deliberately chose this pattern as I wanted to be able to show you how the yarn looks in a variety of stitch patterns.
As you can see, the yarn knits up all of these stitch patterns beautifully with really good stitch definition. I think you could probably knit any pattern in this yarn and you would have great stitch definition. Though personally, I think I prefer just the simple stocking stitch. I think the simplicity of the pattern helps to expose the wonderful textured white flecks in the yarn.
What I love about this yarn is that it is machine washable and does not need any blocking or reshaping when damp. I washed my swatch on a 40 degree cycle and there was no shrinkage or misshaping. If anything, it got a little softer in the wash but that is all. This makes it perfect for a baby knit that will be spending a lot of time in and out of the washing machine.
Ideas for using it
I would recommend sticking to quite simple baby patterns and let the texture of the yarn provide all the detail you need. I am thinking of making a cute little romper suit with it next but this yarn would also be great for jumpers, hats and booties.
Spending a fortune on fancy yarns is all well and good (and it is a habit I am unlikely to break I’m afraid) but it is not really the most appropriate course to take when knitting baby items. You want something affordable, soft against the baby’s skin and machine washable. This yarn ticks all of those boxes. An affordable yarn in a variety of lovely colours, that feels pleasant to hold and knits up beautifully. Acrylic yarn has greatly improved over the years and I will definitely be back for more of this.
Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 17th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Guest Posts on Thursday the 16th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 15th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
When Minerva Crafts were looking for product testers for this Gorgeous Fabric, I immediately jumped at the chance! I'd been coveting this fabric for a while on their site, but had so many projects on the go and so many ideas kicking around my head that I just couldn't make up my mind what I wanted to make with it, so it was always a 'one day...' project. It then skipped to the front of the queue and became a 'now!' project when I saw the opportunity to be a product tester!
This fabric is called 'Prada' and is a satin backed crepe, which means you can use either side of this fabric - the crepe side is matte, the satin side has a shine to it. It's a medium weight fabric, which would be perfect for evening dresses, jackets and trousers. I think it's just a *smidge* too heavy to make a shirt from, so if it's a silky flowy blouse you're after I would definitely recommend something a bit lighter in weight.
I had originally planned to make the Butterick Pattern 5209 (above), copying the black dress on the left pretty much exactly. I've had this pattern for a while now and knew it would be destined for black satin, so it seemed the obvious choice. But when I saw the fabric in my hands in natural light I could see that the shiny satin side of it isn't true black - it has a very, VERY dark midnight blue sheen to it. It's only after you hold it up next to something black that you can notice it - check out the pictures below of the skirt next to my black shoes and you will be able to see the very subtle difference.
But this isn't a bad thing at all - it just meant that I had to rethink my pattern choice as I wanted an absolute jet black for the Butterick dress. Instead, I went for Simplicity Pattern 1099, *another* pattern that I'd had in the back of my mind for a while (there's a LOT more back there too... too many ideas too little time!).
This pattern contains three skirts and three tops, so it's really good value if you're looking to make some evening wear! Full skirts in two lengths plus the slim skirt I have made here (view F - how amazing is that pink colour they've chosen! This fabric is also available in a cerise pink which might be quite similar), a loose-fitting and a slim fitting crop top and finally a top that you can add a contrast band to. You could get a fair few outfit combinations from this one pattern! I really like the fitted crop top (A) that the slim skirt is pictured with, but I don't quite have the stomach to carry that off :) So here's my finished skirt.... ta da!
I absolutely love those pleats on the front, the sheen of the satin looks beautiful as the light catches it. If you're using the shiny satin side as the right side (as opposed to the matte crepe) I would suggest using a pressing cloth rather than putting the iron directly on to the fabric - this should prevent any shiny marks appearing, which is the last thing you want on your beautifully made garment.
The skirt closes with an invisible zip and two hooks and bars on the waistband. As it's unlined, it is actually a pretty quick make. In case you missed it, there is a thigh-high slit up the side of the skirt, which you could alter the length of if you so desired. Just be sure to follow the instructions and back-tack your stitching at the opening, to avoid the seam unravelling!
This satin is quite easy to work with, it's not at all like the lightweight slippery satins that shift all around the cutting board and make you wonder why you ever thought it would be a good idea to use such fabrics. It's got a good bit of body to it which makes it easier to control! I would recommend cutting out your pieces single layer, rather than folding the fabric and then cutting - this will make cutting much easier and also help prevent any distortion of the layers to make sure you get everything correctly on the grain lines.
As always, pre wash your fabric the same way as you will wash the finished garment, to allow for any shrinkage or initial colour run - it's always better to be safe than sorry. I washed this fabric at 30 degrees with no problems.
I overlocked the edges of the satin purely for a nice finish, but there didn't appear to be any real danger of fraying edges, because the weave of the fabric is nice and tight. This also reduces the potential for snags and plucking - I'm sure I'm cursed in some way because I ALWAYS catch delicate fabrics on stuff but this satin doesn't seem to be prone to snagging which is definitely a plus point if you're making a luxurious item with a nice sheen to it!
For the hem of the skirt I used half-inch bias tape, rather than hem tape, and hand stitched the hem after pressing. I also hand stitched the slit facing open to avoid stitching showing on the outside.
Although this fabric does have *some* stretch, there's not a huge amount so bear this in mind if you're making something close-fitting like trousers!
I might go back and make the fitted cropped top from the pattern envelope (view A). I'm pretty sure it could easily be lengthened to meet with the skirt and cover the stomach gap - I'm not sure I'd go for a satin-on-satin combo but it would look lovely in a lace or sequin fabric. A matching jacket made from the satin would look gorgeous paired with one of the skirts from the Simplicity pattern, using a combination of the shiny and matte sides of the fabrics to highlight the lapels or pockets.
I really love how the skirt has turned out - the pattern is the perfect pairing for this lovely Satin Fabric! I'm tempted now to buy some of the other colours... the cerise pink calls to me purely because it's PINK, and the jade also looks lovely. I'd like to make a shorter version of this skirt because it fits me so well - I'm thinking a knee-length pencil skirt. Might have to glam up my work wardrobe so that I can wear these pretty things every day!
Until next time... happy sewing!
Sarah @ Wanderstitch
Posted in Product Reviews on Sunday the 12th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
As a keen quilter I have sewn with many different types of wadding, but I’ve only very recently heard of foam. Vilene the manufacturer actually call it Foam Interfacing, but I’ve heard people also refer to it as foam batting on blogs and in tutorials.
From the pictures online I was expecting this sew in foam to be a thin dense layer of foam but it’s really much better than I had hoped, it’s almost ¼ inch deep and it’s really soft and bouncy.
I decided to make a toy bucket for my son’s room with some fabric left over from other projects.
I noticed straight away it’s lovely and easy to cut. I decided to quilt the sides of the toy bucket, did exactly the same as if it were wadding/batting, basting it with spray.
I used a cotton quilting thread in white and a size 12 needle. The foam gives really amazing stitch definition, I did think it could actually be used for quilting placemats or even for wall hanging it would really show off beautiful quilting designs. I used a Fabric Marker to help guide me when quilting. I did use my walking foot on my machine, but I also tested without the walking foot and it was fine. I would suggest if you don’t have walking foot for your machine then every couple of inches stop sewing keep your needle down and raise your presser foot, that way if the presser foot is dragging the top fabric it releases it.
Then I bound the top of the bucket just the same as for quilting
When I sewed the sides of the bucket together and instead of binding the raw edge, (because I had run out of fabric), I used French seams. I know that in dressmaking a French seam is really for fine fabric but it worked out great here, my machine sewed through the layers with no trouble. When I attached the base again there were raw edges. This time I hand stitched a blanket stitch around the raw edge to neaten and then sewed the raw edge to the side of the bucket to it was less visible.
Here you can see the French seam on the inside.
Here you can see the base on the inside with the blanket stitch over the raw edges.
I decided to put some handles on the bucket/basket, I did this by making tubes of fabric and then putting some of the foam inside.
Then I folded the tubes in half length ways and sewed together apart from 4inches each end.
I decided to hand stitch the straps as I thought it would be easier to ensure they were straight and even rather than putting the bucket under the machine. I guess you could have placed the straps on before sewing the side seams.
The foam was really easy to hand stitch through so you could use it for hand embroidery on bags and the embroidery would really stand out and add texture.
So here’s the finished toy bucket completely empty I’m super impressed how it holds it’s shape!
I do think in some ways my quilting lines took away from the strength of the foam as the foam folded along the sewn line so that’s something to bear in mind using it, also because it’s bouncy it does roll up under the machine like wadding so bear that in mind when designing your project. I think it would be brilliant in bags and I can see why it’s so popular with bag makers.
I was really pleased with how easy it is to work with, just as easy as wadding for my machine to feed through and stitch into, so now I need to think of some more projects!
And here it is with toys in;
Thanks for reading,
Emma Thompson @ Sand Piper Sewing
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 11th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Fabric roses are a great way to use up scraps of Fabric, make co-ordinating accessories or add a feature to a make. This Clover Rose Maker plate helps you create them with ease. I chose to test the medium size which helps make roses approximately 2” across using strips of fabric approx 4” x15”. Lightweight and fine fabrics are recommended. I have used a polycotton in these details with some examples of ones I’ve made using organza and cotton sateen at the end.
The rose maker pack consists of a pattern, which has two layers, a hairpin (yes I have written that right it is a normal hairpin!) and a detailed instruction leaflet. In addition to that you will need 2 pins and a needle & thread.
The pattern needs to be unfolded to start with and you will see it flattens out to two strips which are used to sandwich the fabric between. There are holes at each end of the strip so you can pin the layers together to secure the fabric.
When you use the Rose Maker you will see that their main instructions show the fabric facing the opposite way up to how I’ve put it but in the advanced hints section it describes how to make so you can hide the seam/raw edge; this is the method I’m using as it gives a much neater finish.
From the end that says start you simply fold in direction of arrow and stitch through both layers of the seam allowance, using a running stitch, up to the first point. Try to keep the stitches even and leave a little space from edge of pattern so you don’t catch the pattern piece as well!
Carry on folding and stitching each section as you go until the last piece. Remove needle from thread but leave hanging loose.
At this point the pins are removed and the outer template can lift off.
Flattening the fabric slightly the section inside the tube of fabric is also removable.
Now time to turn the fabric through to the right way.
The final edge should now have its seam allowances turned inwards and the opening closed with a ladder stitch using the same length of thread as before. This thread will be used to gather up the rose.
Gather the fabric by pulling the thread. The rose effect will vary depending on the tightness of gathers.
Once gathered place hairpin on end you started the sewing and gently wind the fabric around it.
When wound use the thread to secure the gathers and sew through base of rose to hold in position before removing the hairpin.
This Rose Maker seems a little fiddly when you read the instructions but once you try it and see how it easily folds into place you’ll see it’s a great idea for a quick and portable project, in fact I was making them on the train for these pics!
I particularly like the ones I made using the Organza Fabric and these are now glued to a hair clip ready to wear :)
Happy flower making,
Nicky @ Sew N Snip
Posted in Projects on Friday the 10th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi All! Welcome to my review for Minerva Crafts of the Prada Self Lined Stretch Crepe Suiting Dress Fabric in Aubergine.
When I received the email with the products that was on offer for this round, I couldn't believe that there was Prada fabric!! So I jumped on the chance to give it a whirl as I haven't really used a crepe before and thought well why not now!
It’s such a fabulous quality fabric, it's self satin lined with a slight one-way stretch across the width of the fabric. I'm so glad I went for the Aubergine colourway as its just such an autumn colour but really glam at the same time!
Because this fabric has a matt and shiny side, you can use either or a combination of both textures to create dramatic effects especially as evening attire. This fabric is PU coated with both anti static and anti click, ensuring the highest quality for special garments. Beautifully soft with a lovely drape, it’s perfect for jackets, dresses, skirts, trousers, waistcoats and more! I came across the freebie a-line skirt from Love Sewing Magazine and it screamed at being a nice winter skirt using this fabric.
I couldn't stop stroking this stuff when it first arrived as it is just that beautiful! If you have seen my Instagram feed I’ve popped on a short video showing the matt and shiny side.
When it came to cutting the fabric, it was a delight - it didn't move around as much as I thought it would and my pins didn't leave any mark holes either! So I used my rotary cutter, mat and pins with ease!
I prepared my sewing machine with my even feed foot to be on the safe side and the fabric really did behave itself when sewing! I even kept the stitch length/width set as standard.
The a-line skirt is a pretty simple make with it being only 6 pieces, the only thing I had to alter was the skirt length as per usual but I only took 2 inches off for a change. It involves inserting an invisible zip but I do love installing them compared to the normal zip…. Yes I am odd one!
To finish this skirt off I decided to get out my blind hem foot and finish the hem neatly as the waistband was stitched in the ditch and there was no visible stitching anywhere on the outside! If you are lucky enough to have a setting for this on your machine, then please use it as it does save a lot of time compared to hand stitching which I hate with a passion!
So here is the elegant a-line skirt being kindly modeled on Dorris as I have made a size smaller then I am at the moment to keep me motivated in keeping up the running so fingers crossed I’ll get into it soon!
The saying goes “You get what you pay for!” This is very true as it’s such a Good Quality Fabric that hardly frayed once cut! So go and treat yourselves to a bit of Prada without the huge price tag!
Sally aka The Yorkshire Sewist x