Posted in Product Reviews on Wednesday the 26th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Sometimes it's nice as a sew-person to have really simple instructions on a little card so you are not battling through reams of paper instructions or pausing and starting YouTube. However, sometimes a simple piece of card can leave you a little confused too.
The Villa Rosa Designs Quilting Patterns are just that, a little postcard with all you need to make this quilt.
It tells you what you need (8 fat quarters and 2 and a quarter yards of fabric). Then has some very basic instructions on putting it together.
Away I went, I sliced my fat quarters up. I love using Fat Quarters for Quilts, they are so readily available and usually so well coordinated. I know you see lots of tutorials about what to make with fat quarters but I find quilts the most satisfying by far. I chose a lovely bundle in spring greens which came as a pack of 7 so I added one more from a woodland themed pack I had.
I sliced and labelled, determined to be organised so the simple instructions didnt catch me out.
I really enjoy the process of sewing up strips like this, I find it one of the most relaxing parts of sewing, something that takes little concentration and you can do whilst the TV or radio is on. It was slightly overshadowed here by my nerves though as I was worried I would get the placements wrong and I could see that this is would be crucial to the design. It meant that I didn't manage to do much chain stitching, as I wanted to get it right but I'm sure a more experienced quilter would be able to whiz through this.
At this point the pieces look like this...
I then sliced them in to five inch pieces, this is where it got sticky because it says to make 4 lots of 5 inches from each strip, I'm not sure if I did it wrong or the fat quarters were not to be relied upon but I could only get three lots of 5 inch squares out of some of my Strips. However, I've made it work so don't give up on this just yet!! I suspect that there is a direction in which to cut the fat quarters and in it's determination to be concise there isn't any tips like this on the card.
I am not an experienced quilter so I don't want to patronise anyone but the trick to getting this right is to continually label up and make sure everything is facing the right direction.
I began to piece together the strips using the code on the card and luckily, because of the way the blocks line up I managed to skip around the 'not enough blocks' situation and sewed the patterns in place. It has just meant that the quilt is shorter than it should be. Not the end of the world. Luckily, I left the theme fabric until the end so I was able to cut it to size.
However, I was unable to get the pattern running throughout like the mirror image it shows on the card as I didn't have enough pieces but I still think it looks effective. You can still see a pattern between the block, I feel.
As you can see, there's quite a lot of doing as you see best or that fits.
I quilted it by using chunky straight lines as I don't have the equipment, time or patience to freehand or motion quilt and I think it looks really smart.
As much as the colours I chose are pretty, I think to really make the most of the pattern it needs really bright or contrasting colours. I think it would help the pattern and make it look a little bit more modern. What do you think?
In conclusion, whilst I think it's a charming little quilt and a quick way to make a really effective pattern for a cute quilt, my warning would be that it is definitely not for beginners! Measure, measure again and label the life out of it!
Thanks for reading,
Emma @ Emma and her Machine
Posted in Company News on Tuesday the 25th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Tuesday the 25th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Who doesn’t love pompoms? I was so excited to receive these Clover Pompom Makers from Minerva Crafts to review. In this review, I’ll be giving a few tips on how to make the use of these tools easier. The advantage of making your own pompoms versus buying store bought pompoms is you can make it as fluffy, as big or small and as colorful as you want.
I started doing ‘research’ right away (pinterest, instagram, etc) to figure out what to make with these treasures. I was so overwhelmed with all the crafts you can make with pompoms, I finally decided to make something I’ll actually use regularly so to try I decided to make bookmarks and a wall art.
Tip #1: Use a small scissors such as an embroidery scissors especially if you have an extra small maker.
I received a small and an extra small package. One advice I have for anyone planning to buy these makers especially in the extra small size is make sure you have small scissors (such as embroidery scissors) as well. This will make cutting the yarn once it’s wrapped around the tool easy to cut. I struggled with my scissors for a while but once I switched over to my Embroidery Scissors, I was in pompom heaven!
Tip #2: The more yarn you wrap around, the fluffier your pompom gets.
I wanted medium fluffiness for my bookmark, which was inspired by several pinterest posts. I used the small pompom tool to make these, cut out hearts from felts to cover the knot on the other end by sewing a pair of the felt hearts together and voila! You have yourself a fun, diy, and functional craft!
Tip #3: Tie more than one knot when securing your pompom.
This helps ensure that the yarn is strongly in place. I made a wall art piece using all the sizes I received, another pinterest inspired project. This will find a home in my sewing room soon.
The instructions on the back on the pompom packaging are great but it still took me three pompoms to get used to making perfect pompoms. So don’t expect to have a perfect one the first time. Just keep at it and you’ll find you get better with each pompom you make. Enjoy and go crazy with these little treasures!
Sylvia from The Ravel Out
It’s summer and of course it’s all about summer clothes, accessories and SHOES! But, who knew that making shoes is actually easy? Making my own espadrilles was on my mind for a long time now, so when I got the chance to test Prym's Espadrilles Soles from Minerva Crafts I was beyond happy! I thought a lot about what kind of espadrilles I would like to make with these soles and had a good internet search about them. I also found a little bit about their history: espadrilles begun as a peasant footwear and then become the urban workers footwear before becoming such a popular modern footwear over the spring and summer months for both women and men.
The design possibilities are endless and after my research I came to the conclusion that I wanted mine to be some kind of crocheted sandals.
Searching for different types of espadrille sandals, I came across this video and I decided to loosely follow the instructions for my version. So, with step one (deciding the design) done, I was off to step two (the yarn!).
When I discovered Katia's Tahiti yarn I knew I found the perfect yarn for this project. Tahiti is a 100% combed and mercerized cotton yarn with a really great color selection. I went with colorways 7 (beige) and 8 (light beige).
I used a 5.5mm crochet hook and made the whole design holding together one strand of each yarn for a more bulky look and sturdy design. It was a really quick, easy and satisfying project!
When I finished crocheting the sandal design for both shoes, I used a burlap yarn and a heavy duty needle to attach the crocheted pieces to the Prym espadrille soles. For this I used a blanket stitch - a very common stitch in espadrilles - which creates a really sturdy and good looking join.
Next I made the ties of the shoes by chaining many stitches holding together one strand of each yarn until I had a long strip I could wrap loosely around my ankle and I thread them through the crocheted pieces.
I'm so in love with my new, unique espadrille sandals! I would totally recommend Creating Your Own Espadrilles with Prym’s soles. It is so much fun and such a worthy outcome!
Posted in Projects on Saturday the 22nd July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
For my latest review for Minerva I opted to try to Summer Fabric Bundle. I was a bit cautious as obviously you don't know what you are going to get. However, I wasn't disappointed. I have worked with bundles before but they are usually much smaller pieces that can be used for crafts, make up bags etc. This bundle came with two 1 metre pieces and another piece which was 3 metres long so a definite bargain straight away.
I set about thinking immediately, I thought I'd find it difficult to be creative with fabric I hadn't chosen but I felt inspired. I had just made a successful version of Mccalls Pattern 6927 so I decided to make another summery version using the white floral piece.
I wanted to do version D which has a long length and a curved back hem line and realised I wouldn't have enough, I can rarely make a top in my size with a metre. Anyway, I thought I could maybe use two different fabrics and I improvised. I went looking through my stash for a fabric that matched and then had a light bulb moment as I looked up the green cotton that had come with it. Bingo. So I cut the beginnings of the top bodice, stopping just before the bust darts and cut the remaining front in the green. I cut the sleeves out of the floral too as I didn't want to clash too much! I think it was a good choice, the green contrasts but ties in with the green in the flowers.
I love making this top too, it has lots of variations and a great fit. I used bias binding all around instead of facing, especially on the curved hem as I find it can make it easier. I was really pleased to have such a wearable, bright top out of the two smaller pieces.
What's more, I had enough green left over to make some super cute little baby trousers for a friend who is having a baby. This was an absolute bonus for me. They were really simple but I think simple is good for babies. It also meant I could whip them up alongside sewing my top! I am thinking of embroidering some little flowers along the hem if it's a girl though!
On to the last piece; it was a see-through chiffon number. I always class purple colours like this at autumnal so I didn't feel it was too summery but it is a light fabric at least. I decided to make the Cotton and Chalk Olivia Dress again as I thought I would then be able to wear it over a black slip.
The pattern needs 3 metres and there was plenty and even enough to add the optional ruffles. I don't have a lot of experience with this kind of material so it was great to try it out in such an inexpensive way. I have other chiffons which I have bought and love but I haven't braved sewing up yet because of my inexperience with them so it was great to practice on this. It didn't go badly at all, the whole dress needed French seams, which means that it wasn't as quick as a project as I would like but I like to make sure that things will last.
I still wasn't sure throughout the making process if the colours were a bit drab for my liking but once it was done I really liked it and I will be wearing it through summer and autumn.
My advice for this product: relish the unexpected nature of it and allow it to let you think outside your comfort zone and test your creativity! If you're new to sewing like me then take the opportunity to try different fabrics in a way that doesn't leave you feeling you've thrown your money away!
Thanks for reading,
Emma @ Emma and her Machine
Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 21st July 2017 by Annette
Posted in Product Reviews on Thursday the 20th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello to you reading this – I'm Harriet and I blog over at hobblinghandmades.com and am a sewing vlogger on YouTube!
I'd been looking for Dressmaking Fabric to use for a Simplicity Sewing Pattern for ages, but couldn't find anything wide enough (or pretty enough) so when I got an email from Vicki and saw that this beautiful Cotton Lawn Fabric was up for grabs, I couldn't resist it!
The Sewing Pattern that I wanted it for had a very big full circle skirt, which was where the issue of fitting the pattern pieces onto the fabric presented itself. Before I popped this lovely broderie fabric in the wash, I had a trial run of fitting the pattern piece onto the material and – thank goodness - it fit perfectly and it meant that I could have a stunning border print along the bottom of my skirt.
It did occur to me as soon as I heard the water start running in the machine that really I should've measured the fabric before and after washing it, so that I could report back on the shrinkage – but I think that the amount that it did shrink was so small that it wouldn't have been much of a percentage at all. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't pre-wash this fabric though!
As I was cutting out this lovely polycotton, I noticed that there was hardly any fraying going on at the raw edges, which was definitely a big bonus! Although it is always a good idea to do something to the edges of cut fabric (whether that's using pinking shears, overlocking or using a zig-zag stitch), the exposed raw edges of a garment in this fabric would probably survive okay without any kind of edge finishing.
Another thing that I noticed was that, unless you accidentally press a massive fold into it with an iron, the fabric does not crease. This is due to the polyester percentage in the fabric – it means that it's less likely to crease because of the man-made polyester component, but that its percentage of the fabric isn't so high that it feels at all synthetic! A win-win.
The material was so lovely to work with – gathers were easy to put in, pleats, it dealt with unpicking well, but it is slightly see through when you wear it; something I didn't notice until I started to take my photos! This isn't a massive problem, though, and can easily be fixed by wearing lighter coloured underwear, a slip, or adding a lining underneath.
I did intend on using this fabric to make the dress from the patern above, but I had a fitting nightmare with the bodice and ended up abandoning it and just using the skirt pieces from the pattern, and added my own waistband. The fitting issues were through no fault of the fabric – it was the pattern, and it's made me cross that I've wasted some of the material!
I'm so pleased with the finished skirt – it has a beautiful drape, the colour is very sophisticated, and the border broderie anglaise detail adds interest without detracting from the simplicity of the skirt. I know that I'll be wearing it a lot – and buying the fabric in the creamy blush colour as well!
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 19th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi, Lauren here, let’s get the introductions over and done with… Short story: I like sewing and making things and I write about said things over on my blog, craftworksblog.com.
Did you know Minerva Crafts do Indie Sewing Patterns? This is probably news to no one but me, but yes, they do indeed do indie patterns, including Papercut Patterns. This kind of made my day when I found out, which may sound sad to most people, but I’m guessing that if you’re reading this post on Minerva Crafts’ blog, you will probably understand what I mean.
There are a few Papercut Patterns that have been on my list a while, but as I am in desperate need of summery-type dresses and due to the fact that prior to writing this I had a big holiday coming up, (my honeymoon actually) I decided to try out the Yoyo Dress Pattern.
There have been a lot of Yoyo dresses milling around the blog/Instagram world, some of them on the smarter side, some of them more casual. I wanted to make one that would look fairly dressed-up when worn on holiday with heels and stuff, but could also look more casual with a shirt under at work. I also wanted it to be fairly lightweight, as I’d be wearing it in Florida which turned out to be pretty warm at this time of year (who knew?) - that’s why I ended up picking the fabric I did.
After studying the denim/chambray section of the Minerva Crafts website for quite a long time (there’s a lot to chose from!) I decided on this pastel Cotton Chambray Fabric and to really venture out of my comfort zone, (NOT) I went for the pastel pink option - as if I don’t have enough of that colour already. I didn’t really know how thick or heavy it would be, as I didn’t order a swatch, so I was a little worried when it arrived…
…It looked rather sheer, and as the pattern isn’t lined I was worried I’d end up showing a little more than I really wanted to. However, I was worried unjustly, as it covers my decency and doesn’t expose anything I’d rather stayed hidden, which is definitely something you want in a garment right?
I was expecting it to look a little more denim-y for some reason, but it has more of a cotton look and feel, which made it really nice to sew with, and made construction a hell of a lot easier. It does crease though, which would be fine if I wasn’t so crap at ironing. (You can probably tell from my pictures that the ironing part of the construction process was a bit of a hash job.)
This is the first Papercut Patterns pattern I’ve made, so I didn’t know what to expect. First impressions - the pattern and envelope packet is so cute! I loved the recycled paper and the illustrations are lovely; also, the envelope is bigger than the norm, which makes it a load easier to fold it back up after you’ve finished.
The pattern was pretty easy to fit together, everything in the instructions was fairly self explanatory. I was most nervous about inserting the open ended zip down the front of the dress, as:
I haven’t inserted an open ended zip before
I knew if it wasn’t even both sides, it would throw the whole garment out of whack
I thought the zip itself might be too heavy and pull the front of the dress down
It turned out that the zip was one of the simplest parts of the garment. I made sure I hand-tacked it in place after pinning so it was less likely to move about, and measured from the bottom of the bodice up on both sides.
The facings went together really well too, except while I was finishing the edges of the underarm facing with my new overlocker, I had a little accident…. I ended up chopping a chunk out of it and had to do some damage control, which left me with a funny-looking right underarm. Ah well, at least no one can see the issue there.
Two features I loved about this pattern is inverted diagonal at the bottom of the hem where the zip ends, and the V at the back of the neck. These kind of details make it look a bit more contemporary.
I cut a size small, as it corresponded closest with my measurements. This felt great as I rarely find myself cutting out a small - nice little confidence booster there! However, this didn’t go exactly as expected.
It sewed up a lot bigger than expected which threw off some of the measurements on the dress for me. The dress fit well at the waist, but the shoulders sure didn’t fit. I took some of the fabric out at the shoulder seam, but they’re still a little big for me, as is the hip area.
I haven’t yet taken the side seams of the skirt in, as I thought I’d wear it a couple of times first and see how it feels. It’s really comfy, while still holding me in in the right places, so I think I might just keep it how it is for now.
Overall I think this is a dress I’m going to get a lot of use out of. I like it on it’s own, but I can also imagine wearing it with a shirt or a stripy top, with tights and boots in the winter. If I were to make it again though, the shoulders are definitely something I’d look at - as it’s the only thing that slightly gets on my nerves when I have the dress on. Besides that tiny aspect, I’m really happy with it, and see a dressier version in black.
If you fancy checking out some of the other things I’ve made - mainly in pale pink - head to www.craftworksblog.com.
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 18th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi! My name’s Ali (also known as Thimbers by my sewing pals!) and I’m a new reviewer here at Minerva. I blog at Thimberlina and I love all sorts of craftiness but my true love is dress making. I mainly sew for myself and occasionally loved ones who appreciate the time and effort that goes into to handmade garments and gifts.
The first thing I do when a new Fabric arrives is to wash it straight away, even if I don’t plan to use it immediately. So when this super soft lightweight Cotton Lawn Fabric dropped onto my door mat I took a quick photo and popped it straight in the washing machine. Luckily it was a lovely sunny day and it dried in no time on the airer in the garden. As you can see from the photo it’s the creamy pinky blush colour that is everywhere at the minute.
Choosing what to make with this fabric was easy as I’d recently bought Vogue Sewing Pattern 9242 a very on trend off the shoulder top with wide sleeves and a floaty bodice which would show the border off perfectly.
I needed more fabric than what was suggested on the packet as I could only use one side of the selvedge and I wanted the border on the bottom and also on the sleeves. In order to work out how much I needed I opened up the pieces and measured each one individually. The total worked out at 310 cm. I forgot to include the bias piece needed for the casing but luckily Vicki had sent me 3.5m so I just had enough.
If you’re thinking of using this fabric and showing off the border too you need to adjust the pattern slightly. It’s fairly simple so don’t let it put you off! Here’s how I did it.
Lay out the pattern pieces. As you can see from my bodice back and front the lower edge is curved. You need to square this off so it’s straight like the border edge of the fabric.
To straighten the bottom just fold the pattern piece. I also wanted to shorted the top slightly as I wanted it to sit above my hips not on them. Remember that you won’t need the hem allowance, and the length can’t be adjusted afterwards so measure carefully or tissue fit the pattern so you’re happy with the length.
I did the same with the sleeve pieces and removed the curve by folding the pattern piece.
Once I had all my pieces ready I pressed my fabric and had a trial run trimming back to the scalloped edge using my Applique Scissors. The trick is to get close without snipping the threads, so take it slowly as unless you want to order more fabric you won’t get a second chance!
I thought once it came to making up the top that the side seams might be slightly disjointed as I couldn’t match up the scalloped edges exactly.
I was very lucky and just manipulated the seam allowances ever so slightly to match the bottom edge of stitching.
I opened up the seam, and all looked ok, so then was able to overlock the raw edge.
And then trim away the fabric to the scalloped edge. This was quite exciting and a little bit daunting. I placed the garment on a flat surface and took it really slow. I timed myself and it took less than 10 minutes to trim away all the lower edge which is probably faster than hemming it! I added Fray Check to the bottom of the seams so the stitching and overlocking won’t unravel.
Other than adjusting the pattern to accommodate the fancy edge I followed the pattern as per instructions. The fabric was a dream to sew and didn’t need pressing at all except for the shoulder straps. This is a first for me as usually I have my clapper to hand for every pressed seam and never cut corners. But this fabric just never held a crease, and the softness of it would have been lost if I’d have pressed the living daylights out of it!
And here’s the top finished, after it had been packed in a suitcase, worn on a night out and then flung over the chair. It still hadn’t been pressed since it was dried on the day of washing!
So this Dressmaking Fabric would be perfect for your summer tops and dresses, or a little girls summer dress. Or even PJs. And at only £2.99 a metre ordering extra so you can show off the border it's not going to break the bank!
This top is one of the most admired garments I've made in ages, and lots of my friends want one too! I received so many compliments when I wore it for mini photo shoot on a recent girlie golfing trip to Portugal - and here I am wearing it on a hot and balmy evening, but feeling ever so cool!
Thanks Vicki for giving me the opportunity to review this gorgeous summery fabric. Now all I have to do is decide what I’ll do with the long narrow piece I have left.