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Vogue 9075 Jumpsuit by Marie

Jumpsuits and tropical prints must have been this summer's ultimate dressmaking dream, right? Well, I got to make mine a reality thanks to Rachel from The Foldline for introducing me to Vogue Pattern 9075 and to Minerva Crafts for stocking this wonderful Crepe Fabric
The pattern lingered in my stash for a good few months before I came across the fabric, but when I did, the attraction was so strong that it pulled me right out of my sewing slump and reignited my sewjo. As an added bonus, this light and floaty crepe takes to pressing very nicely, yet doesn't crease when worn. It's quite robust too, so you don't have to worry about ironing on a lower heat - in fact, I found it behaved better on my setting for cottons. 
As a jumpsuit, view B has pretty much everything I look for in a pattern - short sleeves, a princess seamed bodice, pockets and pleats rather than gathers at the waistline. The neckline could be lower (an easy alteration for anyone who feels the same), but personally I'd rather one that's a smidgeon too high than too low. 

Annoyingly, Vogue 9075 is a split-size pattern meaning you can either choose a range 6-14 or a range 14-16. Overlapping the size 14 makes it easier if you're in between sizes, which is good, but I still much prefer having all sizes in one packet. You never know when generosity might strike for a little selfless sewing!

On the plus side, the sizing was spot on. Going by my measurements I cut out a straight size 14 and without any grading whatsoever, the neckline didn't gape, the shoulders weren't too wide, my full bust was accommodated and the waist fit nicely. Also, choosing the largest size in the range meant no tracing for me...whoop! The only alteration I did have to make was to chop 7cm off the bottom of the pants before hemming, but that's to be expected.

One of my favourite things about this pattern is that the bodice and pants pieces have fold lines for petite people. Being 5ft 3in, I always have to shorten pattern pieces, but having a guideline already there feels like such a luxury and it worked perfectly for the bodice. Word to the wise though: just because you have a petite torso doesn't mean you have a petite crotch! There, I said it. I automatically shortened the crotch using the petite guideline and really wish I hadn't. Any sudden upwards arm movement results in an automatic wedgie...front and back!

Despite being conservative with words, the instructions are pretty clear with detailed diagrams. Where I think there's room for improvement in terms of instructions and construction, is around inserting the pockets. Not only are the diagrams for this step a little confusing, there is no mention of under-stitching the pocket facings, which I did anyway for a cleaner finish. I also think the pocket openings end up a little on the small side, so I will probably rectify this next time. 

To this day, I'm still not sure whether the pants pleats are supposed to be stitched down or hang free like I've left them. The instructions advise you to baste down the length of each pleat, but at no point do they go on to tell you to a) remove the basting stitches and/or b) topstitch in their place. I'm sure either finish looks just as nice, but this oversight is a little perplexing. 

Alarmingly, aside from hemming the sleeves and pants, there is no mention of finishing any seams in the instructions at all. It could be that I've been spoilt by indie patterns going the extra mile to help create insides that are as beautiful as the outsides, but as Vogue 9075 lends itself well to lighter fabrics that tend to fray, I think finishing seams is really important. 

It's definitely something you might want to think about before you get started if you want a longer-lasting jumpsuit. As you can imagine, the construction of the pants is a bit fiddly, so I suggest finishing/overlocking your pants and pocket pieces before you start sewing. 

However, Vogue 9075 does call for a neatly lined bodice, which eliminates the need for irritating facings and encloses the unsightly waistline seams. I used a luxurious silk cotton for mine and it feels heavenly against my skin. Once again though, my experience came in handy when finishing the armholes. Instead of following the instructions which would leave me with unfinished and exposed seams, I overlocked my fashion fabric at the armholes and then handpicked the lining to it for a much cleaner finish. 

Aside from my minor niggles, Vogue 9075 is an excellently drafted pattern and I'm seriously impressed by the fit. I'd say it's 'very easy' for slightly more experienced stitchers, but a well-worth challenge for beginners. 
I'd love to make a wool version for colder weather and a chambray version for next summer. I think it would also be fun to play around with the length going with maxi for maximum elegance and above the knee for a more  playful look. 

All in all, Vogue 9075 is a winning pattern in my book.

Slinky Satin Dressmaking Fabric Review by Cynthia

Punched slinky Satin Dressmaking Fabric. This is a slippery fabric to work with, but it has the most wonderful drape and fluidity. 

This beautiful slinky fabric and oh the surface design – partially punched out circles all over this gorgeous fabric! For me red was drawing me in, I had to have some!! So certainly, I acquired several meters….my heart flip flopped numerous times in anticipation of touching it and deciding what to make with this fabric.

I had to think about this after all there were holes all over it – would I use it as a design layer for a pillow, a shawl, I could surely see a lined evening bag - made from it, what would I make??

Then it hit me, a blouse, yes, a blouse that wrapped – partially lined, it would be so beautiful!!! Now that I knew what I wanted to make, I set out to determine what pattern I would use? I liked Simplicity 2369, but I wasn’t sold on it either. I am going to have to create my own design from mashing up pieces and parts of separate patterns. I began searching until I settled on my final choice the body of Simplicity 2369 with the sleeves of Kwik Sew 3582, I needed to work through the design of the pieces I would use.

I had determined my design and now I needed to move forward with the layout, now I wanted to think about any special considerations; and there was at least one. I needed o be thoughtful about how I laid out the pattern pieces for cutting, to make sure as few of the punch outs were along the seam edge as possible. That was going to prove challenging!! But I’d get there….

Let the sewing begin!! There were some challenges sewing with this fabric, as it’s slinky slippery-ness made it necessary to go slow and check often that it was not rolling up on itself under the needle.

Let’s mark the progress…

Honestly speaking, this fabric is beautiful and provides such interesting design elements with the punch out surface design. Plan well your project, from its design to placement of the pattern pieces to cut, as well as how to finish off your hems – all these elements will be important for a finished project.

Enjoy your next sewing project, try something different, try this gorgeous Fabric!!!!!

Cynthia @ The Needle and Thread Shed


Lady McElroy Belfast Viscose Stretch Jersey Knit Dress Fabric Review

Minerva Crafts offered up fabric to try, who am I to refuse.  A beautiful Lady Mc Elroy Jersey Fabric arrived, it took me moments to decide on Simplicitys Sew house seven toaster top. 

This is a light-ish weight jersey that’s perfect for a t-shirt type top.  Not so thin it has to be roasting to get to wear it but enough to wear on it’s own or under a jumper or cardie.  It’s smooth and has a good recovery due to the elastane content.

I’d made the funnel neck Toaster which had gone together like a dream.  An afternoons work and ready to wear.  As this was to be a lighter top I chose the open neck version for my stripes.  I could see it working through three seasons depending on what it’s worn with, Jeans, Leggings or denim skirt.  I’m getting the hang of this transitional dressmaking.

I cut out a 12 which has given a nice roomy top without it being too baggy.  I tried to make sure I cut it out to allow for the stripes to line up when I’m wearing it.  The drop sleeves make it interesting and I added some length as I didn’t fancy cuffs on this.  I also lengthened the body pieces so I could wear it with leggings.  I love the drop hem at the back, anything to disguise my rear end. 

This jersey makes up really nicely, it holds its shape without being too firm and if you don’t work it too much it won’t stretch out of shape.  A piece of luck really as I didn’t get on well with the neck band.  The pattern piece was too small, it stretched on as expected but when I’d stitched it on it was obviously way too small.  Unfortunately I’d triple zigzagged it in place…Cue a week of unpicking when I had a moment in good light.  It was sooo very close to being cut out.  My patience was definitely tested with this.  I measured the neckline and cut another neck band to fit with a small stretch to fit.  Much more successful. 

The rest of the top went together in a few short spurts of time worked in between work projects.  I twin needled the neckline and sleeve hems but decided it would look nicer with a single line along the hem.  I’ve mitred the corners of the hem to give it a nice finish for when it moves and flashes the inside.

I find it best to do this pressing first to get a nice crisp edge. 

Once I’ve pressed up the hem and the split edges I use a pin to hold onto the point of the corner.

I then fold the corner in lining up the pressed lines so that the fabric makes a triangle of fabric pointing into the top. 

I can then bring the hem edges together to make a mitred corner when I press again to make a line to stitch along.

Folded together I stitch along the diagonal line which fixes the corner so it can be turned and stitched down along with the rest of the hem. 

Job done.  I think I’d rather have a slightly lower neckline on the next one but over all I’m pleased with the finished top. The jersey has worked up beautifully, so well behaved.  

This is definitely a pattern that will become a well-used one, I’m already eying up the next project for it.  I may never need to buy another t-shirt.  Bring on the jersey!  It’s not something to be shied away from, if you choose a jersey of cotton/elastane it’s going to go together smoothly.  Use a ball point needle and a small zigzag on a normal sewing machine and you’ve got all it takes to have a go.  You’ll  stitch a lot of the Toaster with a straight stitch.  Go on, give it a go.  There are soooo many beautiful jerseys out there.  Give yourself time to play and enjoy the process.

Thanks for reading,

Pippa x


Habico Mini Steam Iron Review by Emma

Today brings you some information about the Habico Steam Iron available from Minerva Crafts. Now, I have to start this review by saying that I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. I couldn’t wait for the end to say that…
Habico HSI Mini Steam Iron is a cute little handheld ironing product that packs a lot of power. It is only 13cm in length with a 40ml water tank and variable heat settings.  The steam function is also optional and can be activated at the click of a button. 
There is a base stand allowing it to stand upright and a neat neck which not only is really ergonomic to hold, but an excellent cable holder. It comes with a water jug as an added extra, has a lengthy cable and 2 pin plug – so folks in the UK you are going to need an adapter for this one. 
I could not believe my luck that the mini ironing board I’ve had hoarded in my cupboard has finally found its partner after all these years! Such a perfect pairing! This setup is absolutely ideal to have out on the sideboard or on the floor when you’re engrossed in a sewing project, without the need to go setting up your large ironing station. I had it set up and switched on the entire time I was making a shirt and it was unbelievably useful to just quickly press cuffs, collars, plackets, and even larger pieces!
To get going all you need is your UK adapter, plug in and go! The water tank opens at the front and the mini jug allows easy pouring. It doesn’t take much water but a little went a very long way! I got about 20 mins out of it before I had to refill.
Wait a couple of minutes for the iron to heat – the light comes on initially and goes off once the iron is ready to use. This took about 90 seconds to heat up to Max. temperature.
To set the steam function, simply click the middle button so it releases. 
Now you’re just going to have to take my word for it as taking photos of steam on a really dark January day is pretty difficult – but wow did this thing go crazy! I was incredibly impressed with how much steam was produced and how efficient the water consumption was considering how much was being generated.
The iron itself was excellent and glided right over the fabric, creating very sharply pressed creases. In this example the fabric strip was quite a thick twill and it handled that very well. All I would say is that if you are doing smaller work – watch your hands! I got a bit steam burnt making some binding as I held it close to the folds.
Another excellent feature of this iron that I discovered, was that given how much steam was produced, I could use it as an upright steamer! This is coming on holiday with me next time we travel – it’s small, lightweight and would make an excellent travel iron to pop in your suitcase. 
I tested this bad boy out at sewing class as well, it fit nicely into my bag and was easy to use on the regular ironing boards. I would say however that it does need a case for travelling due to it remaining hot for some time. In fact, next on my to-do list is making it a little carry case for travel purposes.
The cable wraps around the neck of the iron for easy storage, look how compact!
I thoroughly enjoyed testing out this product and can safely say that I would wholly recommend this as a little sewing companion. In fact, I liked it so much, it’s just a great little companion generally. I introduced it to friends….it went down well…
All in all, this little mini iron is excellent company.  I shall be taking it more places…sewing class, holiday, day trips…out for coffee…
Thanks for reading,
Emma @ Crafty Clyde

Oaki Doki Hobby Textile Fat Quarters Review by Becky

Hi – Becky here from ‘Notes from the Sewing Room’.

After being asked to review the Oaki Doki Hobby Textile Fat Quarters from Minerva Crafts, I spent a bit of time pondering what I could do with the fabrics to brighten up my home.

When you order these online at Minerva you dont know exactly which prints you will receive, it's a bit like a lucky dip and definitely a lovely surprise to receive in the post. I was sent four lovely patterned fat quarters – two with a butterfly design, one with a mini rose print and another with a cute pink triangle pattern.

I don’t know about you, but at this time of the year it is easy to feel like summer is a long time away and everything seems a bit dreary. So, in order to add a bit of sparkle back into my home I decided to use two of the pieces of fabric to create new pillow cases for my bed and the other two to re-cover two of my chair seat pads.

The Fabric 

Each of the fabric pieces were lovely quality cotton and could be used for lots of different craft or sewing projects.

There are lots of ideas to be found online by googling ‘craft projects with fat quarters’.

The Pillow Cases 

I really love injecting a bit of colour in to my life whether it be in the clothes I wear or in the furniture or upholsteries I have in my house.

Pillow cases are one of those things that I always seem to be short of. It doesn’t seem to matter how many I make or buy I always seem to need more for when we have friends to stay over or when the others are in the washing machine.

Some people may like there bedding to be matching, but I kind of like the uniqueness that mixing and matching pillow cases brings.

Below I talk you through how to make your own covers like mine:  

Step 1

Measure the long and short edges of your pillows and add 1cm to each measurement (this will be your seam allowance).

Step 2

Make a template using baking paper (or regular paper / card as you prefer) to cut around. Then pin this to your fabric.

Step 3 

Cut out the front and pack of your pillow case.

I used a fat quarter on the front of my pillow cases and plain light blue cotton poplin on the back that I already had in my stash (you could also use an old sheet, bedspread or offcut for the back piece if you wanted to upcycle something you already have).

Note: I didn’t need to cut my fat quarters at all as the measurements of the fabric were only for the back section. It doesn’t matter too much if your fabric is slightly bigger than your pillow measurements (such as a few cm bigger) as they will still look nice in the end.

Step 4 

Pin three sides of your pillow case together (the two long sides and one short edge. Then stitch these in place using a 1 cm seam allowance.

Step 5

Finish the edges of your fabric using a zig zag stitch or an over locker (these are the edges you just sewed).

Then, on the un-stitched edge create a small l double fold – basically creating a nice neat edge, iron this in place then sew. I used a zig zag stitch as it looks pretty, but a normal straight stitch would be fine.

Step 6

Fold your pillow case through to the right side and iron. Then you are all finished!  

Re-Covering My Chairs

Thanks to some recent building work at my house, a lot of my soft furnishings got covered in brick-dust. We did cover everything up but I guess when things are moved around the covers come loose and the dirt gets inside.

So, rather than trying to clean my old seat pads I decided to create new covers instead.

It is really easy to do this. You will need:

- An old dining chair that has a loose seat pad

- A staple gun that is suitable for upholstery projects

- Pins

- Scissors

First of all I removed my old material cover revealing the original velvet-style seat pad underneath.

I then pinned my fat quarter around the pad – placing the pins as firmly as I could on the under-side of the pad to keep the fabric in place.

Turning over the pad to make sure all was okay from the front (the fabric should be laying as flat and neat as possible); I was then ready to staple.

Holding the back of the pad as firmly as possible, I then stapled the rear side of the material in place. I used quite a few staples but I don’t think there is a particular rule on how many you should need – basically whatever works for you to hold everything in place.

When you are happy with the staples and that the fabric is staying in place, I trimmed any excess bits of fabric off.

I’m really pleased with the finish of the chairs. My husband wanted to take these chairs to the charity shop a few years ago but I knew they would look great again with a splash of paint and a new cushion cover. It is amazing how quickly you can give chairs a new look if you want to.

I hope this was helpful and may be given you a few ideas of how you could use fat quarters to create some gorgeous new bits and pieces for your home.  

Thanks for reading!

Becky @ Notes from the Sewing Room



Velvet Prom Dress by Heather

I don’t know who is more excited about Prom this year me or my daughter. I have been looking forward to this for years and the year has finally come to make her dress. After lengthy pinterest board discussions we finally came to an agreement on the style. She has gone for a V neck back and front with a classic fish tail with a split in the front.I made the pattern for her but it is quite similar to Burda Ladies Sewing Pattern 6866 Floor Length Evening Dresses. You could lower the back line and put a slit in the front and the dress would be much the same.
My choice of fabric is a bottle green Velvet Fabric. The colour really is dark, almost black, but I quite like this as it is very elegant and formal. I prefer velvet over satin especially for a figure hugging dress as it just seems more flattering on the curves. The one downside is that is does look quite wintry and will be a warm dress to wear.
One thing to bear in mind, the fabric is 1.1m wide and I had anticipated cutting the full dress out in one length. This is really snug and Jessica has small hips I only just managed to cut them all out for a size 10. I would probably go for more fabric as this was a bit tight and the seam allowances were very snug.
Sewing velvet is tricky the fabric is constantly shifting and moving. My normal method of sewing is to pin horizontally and pull the pins out as I go. With velvet I find it helps to loosen the tension, pull more pins out and then hold the fabric as taught as possible to keep the seam lined up. Feels like it is a bit of a lazy way but it works for me. If you are struggling with that the alternative is to tack or bast the seams first and try sewing with tissue paper between the layers of fabric.
I kept my iron cool and never iron on the right side. In fact I kept ironing to a minimum which also goes against my natural instinct. The fabric is very delicate and will mark easily. At the end I gave it a more robust iron through the lining to straighten out the seams especial around the tail end of the skirt.
I choose to put the zip in on the side as I think a formal dress is always much better with the back free of zips. It also means it is a little bit more forgiving if you don’t line up the zip perfectly. Using a concealed zip and then sewing in the lining gives a neat finish and you hardly notice the fastening of the dress at all.
It is easy to walk in, fun to dance in and she seems really comfy in the dress. She is really happy with the result.
Happy sewing to all those who are starting on Prom season.

Lady McElroy Cocktail Hour Jumpsuit by Simona

Hello lovely readers!

I’m back on Minerva Crafts blog with a new product testing review. This time the nice team from Minerva asked me to test the Lady McElroy Cocktail Hour Cotton Lawn Fabric. I could not have said ‘No!’ to this fabric. Really, would you?

For this project, the fabric dictated my choice of pattern, I chose to make the jumpsuit version of Butterick Pattern 6130. Also, because I did not fancy doing any pattern matching, I thought it would be more interesting to use plain red cotton (a bit heavier weight than the cotton lawn) to make the collar and the waistband.

Knowing that Butterick patterns have quite a bit of ease (I prefer my garments to be quite a close to body fit) I have chose the size to cut based on the finished garments measurements. As a result, I cut a size 10 and not size 14 as my bust measurement would suggest. Also, I have cut the trouser straight down and took out about 2.5 cm (1”) from the back crotch, as well as I shortening the length on the trousers by 10 cm (4”). I did not want them to be to long. I did not have to make any changes to the bodice.

It is good practice to wash your fabric the same way you will wash your garment, before you start working with the fabric. Construction was pretty easy. I used my pinking shears to grade down the seam allowance on the armholes after I under-stitched the lining.

For adding the zips in I always use knit stay-tape 3cm (1 1/4”) wide. It helps me in keeping with the seam allowance without having to use extra marking and stabilises the area the zipper goes into.

As I am one of those people who insists in always changing something with a pattern, not always intentionally, rather than inserting a centred zip, I did a lapped zipper insertion, just because I could.

I inserted the lining and at the waist, I just used my stitch in the ditch foot, after carefully, pressing the seam allowance on the lining waistband piece a little longer than the line of stitching to make sure it gets caught in the stitch and makes a clean finish on the inside.

For the trousers hem, I just pressed the fabric twice and top stitched in place. Dead easy!

You probably noticed that I used my overlocker to finish the seams on the trouser part only, which is not enclosed in the hem or lining. However, you can easily use the French seam (a seam with the raw edges enclosed) to finish the raw edges, the fabric is light enough not to create bulk by using this technique.

I am super pleased with my jump suit!

And look at that zipper! I am happy that my decision to do a lapped zipper insertion paid off.

And yes, the red shoes are back! They make this whole outfit perfect for that fancy date night with significant other or just your night out with your girlfriends.

Did I mention that the Fabric is a dream to work with? Or that it presses well? Well it is. It is perfect for someone who is just starting to sew. The fabric is soft and stable. I really love the way it feels agains the skin. It is perfect for blouses, shirts or summery skirts or trousers.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my blog post. And, please do share your makes on Instagram/Twitter by tagging @MinervaCrafts or using the hashtag #MinervaMakes. I’d love to see what you create.

Simona @ Sewing Adventures in the Attick


Free Chenille Cushion Cover Crochet Pattern by Tracey

Hello Minerva readers. I love working with different texture yarns. One that I find particularly luxurious are the chenille yarns. I was very pleased therefore when Minerva crafts gave me the opportunity to use their Chenille Yarn to make this fabulous cushion cover.


Sirdar Smudge Yarn - 2 x shade 01 Plush, 1 x shade 11 Ritzy, 1 x shade 08 Dusky and 1 x shade 07 Flock

- Premium quality Cushion Pad 40cm x 40cm

- Impex round 15mm 2 hole Wooden Buttons x 3

The back of the cushion is worked as a large granny square. Because I wanted fairly small gaps in the granny square I have altered the traditional granny square pattern a little, so there are not any chains made between each 3sc shell along the sides of each square, and only 1 chain space on each corner.

Granny Square

1) ch 4, make into a ring, ch3 (counts as 1 dc) working into the ring 2dc, ch1, 3dc, ch1, 3dc, ch1, 3dc, ch1 , slip st into 3rd ch of ch 3 to join

2) turn work, working into the ch1 space ch 3, 2dc ch 1, 3dc (this makes the first corner) in the next ch 1 space *3dc, ch 1, 3dc*repeat in the last 2 ch 1 spaces, slip st in 3rd ch of ch 3 to join

3) slip st 3 times so that youre working into the ch 1 space that makes the corner, ch 3, 2dc, ch 1, 3dc. *Working in the gap between the 3dc shells of the previous row make 3dc, 3dc, ch 1, 3dc into the ch 1 space* repeat 3 times, 3dc into gap between 3dcs of previous row, slip st into 3rd ch of ch 3 to join.

4) change colour to burgendy, working into ch 1 corner, ch3, 2dc, ch 1, 3dc. * 3dc into each gap along the side, 3dc, ch 1, 3dc into corner* 3 times, 3dc into each gap along last side, slip st into 3rd ch of ch3 to join.

5) slip stich 3 times so youre working into the 1st corner, working into ch 1 corner, ch3, 2dc, ch 1, 3dc. * 3dc into each gap along the side, 3dc, ch 1, 3dc into corner* 3 times, 3dc into each gap along last side, slip st into 3rd ch of ch3 to join.

6) change colour to grey, working into ch 1 corner, ch3, 2dc, ch 1, 3dc. * 3dc into each gap along the side, 3dc, ch 1, 3dc into corner* 3 times, 3dc into each gap along last side, slip st into 3rd ch of ch3 to join.

7) slip stich 3 times so youre working into the 1st corner, working into ch 1 corner, ch3, 2dc, ch 1, 3dc. * 3dc into each gap along the side, 3dc, ch 1, 3dc into corner* 3 times, 3dc into each gap along last side, slip st into 3rd ch of ch3 to join

8) change colour to blue, working into ch 1 corner, ch3, 2dc, ch 1, 3dc. * 3dc into each gap along the side, 3dc, ch 1, 3dc into corner* 3 times, 3dc into each gap along last side, slip st into 3rd ch of ch3 to join.

9) slip stich 3 times so youre working into the 1st corner, working into ch 1 corner, ch3, 2dc, ch 1, 3dc. * 3dc into each gap along the side, 3dc, ch 1, 3dc into corner* 3 times, 3dc into each gap along last side, slip st into 3rd ch of ch3 to join

10) change colour to grey, working into ch 1 corner, ch3, 2dc, ch 1, 3dc. * 3dc into each gap along the side, 3dc, ch 1, 3dc into corner* 3 times, 3dc into each gap along last side, slip st into 3rd ch of ch3 to join.

11) slip stich 3 times so youre working into the 1st corner, working into ch 1 corner, ch3, 2dc, ch 1, 3dc. * 3dc into each gap along the side, 3dc, ch 1, 3dc into corner* 3 times, 3dc into each gap along last side, slip st into 3rd ch of ch3 to join

12) change colour to pink, working into ch 1 corner, ch3, 2dc, ch 1, 3dc. * 3dc into each gap along the side, 3dc, ch 1, 3dc into corner* 3 times, 3dc into each gap along last side, slip st into 3rd ch of ch3 to join.

13) slip stich 3 times so youre working into the 1st corner,change colour, working into ch 1 corner, ch3, 2dc, ch 1, 3dc. * 3dc into each gap along the side, 3dc, ch 1, 3dc into corner* 3 times, 3dc into each gap along last side, slip st into 3rd ch of ch3 to join

Flower Squares

The flower granny squares may look a bit difficult to make, but really they are quite simple. I have taken lots of pictures of each stage of the flowers.

1) Ch 4 join into loop, ch3, 7dc into loop, slip st into 3ed ch of ch3 to join.

2) *c2, dc into next stitch* 8 time

3) working into the ch 2 space slip st, 3 sc, slip st* repeat into all ch 2 spaces, slip st to first slip st to join.

4) ch 1, turn work around to work in the back of the flower. *Insert hook into the post between the first two petals, make I sc around the post, ch 3* 8 times. Slip st to 1st ch 3 to join.

5) turn work around to work from the front of the flower. Pull the first petal forward and work into the ch 3 space behind, sc, hdc, dc, hdc, sc* repeat into each ch 3 space,slip st to 1st sc to join

6) ch 1turn work around to work into the back, insert hook into post between the petals, sc into post, ch 3* repeat 7 times, slip st to 1zt sc to join.

7) Change to grey turning work the right way round join into one of the ch 3 spaces Ch 3, 2dc, ch 1, 3dc, *into the next ch 3 space 3dc, into the next ch 3 space 3dc, ch 1, 3dc* 3 times, 3dc into last ch 3 space.

8) slip stich 3 times so youre working into the 1st corner, ch3, 2dc, ch 1, 3dc. * 3dc into each gap along the side, 3dc, ch 1, 3dc into corner* 3 times, 3dc into each gap along last side, slip st into 3rd ch of ch3 to join.

Using sc join three completed squares into a row.

Use sc to join the 3 strips to make up the front of the cushion.

Using sc join the front and back of the cushion along 3 sides.

Sew the buttons along the top of the granny square side of the cushion. Make 3 small braids by platting left over yarn and sew in loops to the back of the flower square side of the cushion. Use the loops to fasten round the buttons.

I think you will agree it looks fantastic and is very soft and squishy. If you would like to find more free crochet patterns check out my blog Hooks and Dragons.

Tracey x


Double Faced Velour Review by Elaine

I like lounging but I hadn't until now made any sportswear or casual loungewear. There's a new name for this stuff: Athleisure and it’s big this year. I'm surprised it took so long but now it’s on my #2018MakeNine list and fortuitously came when I had been given some fabulous material to play with. I’ve been lucky enough to try out some more fabric for Minerva crafts. Opening my parcel was a sensory delight. I got this double faced Velour Fabric in this black and burgundy colour-way. This fabric is just so soft and cuddly, I momentarily thought I'd just throw it on my bed and snuggle in it forever but clearly that would be a cop-out.

The fabric feels so luxurious, it's very soft but heavy and I thought it could be used for the aforementioned throw, cushion covers, something tracksuit-ish or even a coat. However, I had to actually make something with it and it could only really be something luxe but comfy.

I've got enough fabric to make two things. The first is a pair of lounge pants. I've got the perfect pattern from a 1980s book I have in my library. To make use of the double faced aspect I'm making a pair of leggings in the burgundy with a side panel in the contrast black side. I hacked it to add pockets and an elastic waistband and it doesn’t need a zip as this fabric is stretchy enough to be pulled on and off.

Being a heavy weight velour be sure to lay out your pattern pieces all on the nap or pile or you could end up with it looking like different fabric on different pieces. I always use a rotary cutter when cutting out garments and this went through the fabric like butter, it's soooo soft. It does create a ton of fluff though so be ready with your vacuum cleaner or broom if you're that way inclined.

Due to said fluff I'm going to overlock all raw edges before I start sewing up the garment.

Due to the pile you need to take care when prepping this fabric. The fabric does move about a bit when sewing so I’d recommend basting to hold pieces together, but don’t pull that basting too tightly as it will mark the pile. If you have to unpick be ever so careful as you can easily put a whole in this fabric as it cuts so readily.

However, despite the fluff, the fabric actually seems quite stable once cut and sewed up easily both with the overlocker and the sewing machine.

My finished lounging pants are really comfy and reallllly warm and work perfectly at… lounging.

My second item is a bit of an adventure. As simple as the first item was I seemed to feel the need to up the ante and make something a bit more involved. I’ve been seeing a lot of oversized faux fur and fleecy aviator style jackets and thought that this fabric could do something like this. I hacked a pattern for a moto style jacket from the 90s and went from there.

Again the fabric sheds a lot when sewing but does sew up nicely, there is a bit of stretch so you may need to stabilise it somehow to stop rippling which I had when I was inserting my zip. If you have a walking foot, this is its moment. I used the Knit foot that came in the 32 piece presser foot kit I bought recently.

I wanted to get that kind of raw edge that you get with sheepskin so I overlocked on the outside to give it a kind of rough and ready look.

With patch pockets that have the raw edges exposed and inverted seams I think I’ve got the look I was after. I like the asymmetric style of moto jackets and the side zip gives that effect. I think my furry moto style jacket is a snuggly cuddly success.

Thanks for reading,

Elaine @ Diary of a Random Madam


Zandra Rhodes Vogue Jacket by Diane

Readers of my blog, will know that I am a huge fan of Zandra Rhodes. I've adored her work for many years and have a collection of memorabilia as well as having been lucky enough to attend several dressmaking classes at her Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey. 
It comes as no surprise then that I jumped at the chance to product test a Vogue Zandra Rhodes Sewing Pattern for the Minerva Blog. As part of my product testing, I already had a bag underway but I desperately wanted to make this swing coat which I love the shape of.
I had some of this gorgeous metallic swirl peacock print by Timeless Treasures left after cutting out the bag project and as Zandra uses a lot of gold and electric blue in her work I felt it opulent enough to use as a spectacular lining to the top half of the coat. Unfortunately Minerva have now sold out of this fabric but you can find other designs in the same type of Fabric.
I wanted something equally as spectacular yet subtler for the main body and found this beautiful floral embroidered Brocade Fabric on the Minerva website.
I'm never sure about ordering fabric on the internet but wasn't disappointed. It’s richly coloured and the design seems to be etched into the fabric with subtle metallic shadows. It also sits really well with the peacock fabric. 
For the bodice inner, I used some left over Foam interfacing from Vilene, which I was also due to product test in the bag project. 
I used a plain piece of navy Velvet Fabric to use as the bodice contrast and a two-tone blue and maroon coordinating lining.
The pattern is labelled 'advanced' and it certainly is. This has to be the most difficult garment I have ever made. For instance, the quilted bodice section took me the best part of 6-8 hours to complete. I first of all basted the three layers of velvet, foam interfacing and a thin cotton backing.
I was a bit nervous to start the quilting but once I'd done one straight middle seam in the back section I could then line up all the rest at 0.5 cm intervals using this seam as a guide along with the foot on my sewing machine.  I also used up a whole 250 m reel of thread on just this quilting alone.  However, I did discover that I love quilting .... which is fortunate to say the least!  The bodice fronts were straightforward once I’d completed the back. 
It's the 'Zandra Rhodes wiggle' across the middle of the swing coat that poses the main challenge in this pattern.  It took me at least half a dozen times to get the two front sides symmetrical and hanging the same. I even had to hand sew one side to make it the same as the other as I just couldn’t get it right on my machine.
Once the outer main jacket sewing had been done, the rest was quite straightforward.  The set in sleeves went in like a dream.
Completing the lining was fine too. There was no 'wiggle' to contend with here, just a straight line between the top and bottom sections. That then just left sewing the lining to the outer, which was just a straight seam all around the front opening sections. Once the coat was turned out to the right side, some top stitching at the coat edges held all the lining and outer in place.
Finally, the hems were easy, sleeves were done quickly, but the bottom hem took a long time as it was just like completing a circle skirt with acres of seaming to do ..... 
Not sure if I'll make another of these but I would definitely recommend having a go at this as the shape is so flattering. 
It is a designer classic and will never go out of fashion ...  I now have my very own Zandra Rhodes design in my wardrobe and it and will be something I'll keep for years!
Just remembered I have to tackle that unfinished bag now …. It should go nicely with the coat though :-)
Thanks for reading!
Diane Hudson-Sharpe @ margueritedesigns

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