Hi again, It’s Naomi from Naomi Sews. I know I am a bit late to the party with these Ginger Jeans, but now I’ve given it a try I am well and truly converted. I already had these in my August plans, when I was given the opportunity to try out this Stretch Denim Fabric and it seemed like a good match for my first foray into jeans making.
So onto the fabric. I was a little surprised when it arrived that the colour was quite a bit darker than in the website image, more forest green than jade, but it will be a good colour for autumn. It has a really good stretch and recovery and feels firm, but not too thick. I did use Minerva’s thread matching service and the colour was a great match, so if you are interested in a true colour image, use the one from Gutterman thread 402.
In February, Closet Case Patterns released a ‘Sew your dream jeans’ video workshop which just shows how long this project has been waiting in the wings for me. While I am a pretty confident seamstress, the thought of sewing and fitting jeans was a bit intimidating so I’m glad I opted for the extra help of the video class to get me started. Surprisingly, there actually weren’t really any parts that I found difficult, except getting my machine to accept stitching through multiple layers of denim in topstitching thread, and the frustration of having to constantly switch between thread for construction and topstitching. I used Gutermann Top Stitch Button Twist thread in an off-white (number 111) and needed a little over one 30m spool.
I chose various notions and threads from Minerva too. I already have Prym Vario Pliers, but I decided to buy rivets and a jeans button complete with the attachments for my pliers which made the hardware a breeze. My white zip looks cute, but I think this is one of the things I would do differently next time - the zip pull is a little bulky and distorts the fly front slightly.
These feel like proper jeans! They have topstitching a-plenty, belt-loops, pockets and rivets. I did tweak the pattern very slightly to fit, taking 2” out of the length, changing the crotch length a little, and making the waistband more curved so it sat close to my slight swayback. I think each pair that I make the fit will improve slightly.
While I know that these jeans are by no means perfect, I’m not going to point out their flaws to you. They are probably the best fitting jeans that I have ever owned, they make me look and feel great and I am super proud of myself. If you are wondering if you have the skills to sew your own jeans, then I would say just go for it. See it as a learning experience, enjoy the process and you might just end up deciding that you never need to go jeans shopping again!
Now I have got over the hurdle and made my first jeans, I am very tempted to order some of the lovely coral colourway in this Dressmaking Fabric too to make a second pair. This green pair have stood up well to wearing, and I haven’t noticed them stretching out in wear, so I’m confident that another pair could be awesome!
Posted in Product Reviews on Tuesday the 3rd October 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
This is a very interesting Dressmaking Fabric. It’s heavy and chunky and will be fabulous for winter so I decided to make a simple Sew Over It Molly dress which can be worn with or without a belt.
The fabric parcel that arrived from Minerva was huge, it’s a bulky fabric, and the cut edges were very fragile on unwrapping. The rib unusually runs horizontally and so the stripes of rib very easily come undone. I washed it at 30 degrees and then trimmed the top and bottom cut edges.
Black is very tricky to photograph but I hope you will be able to see what I mean.
The Molly dress is very easy. The back and front are cut on the fold, there is a sleeve piece and a neckband and that is all. I made sure I cut along the lines of the rib to minimise the unravelling and then sewed the dress on the overlocker so all edges were enclosed. I decided to add sleeve cuffs just to neaten the edges and overlocked the hem before stitching on a long stitch length on the sewing machine. I cut the neckband lengthways for a little contrast.
The fabric has a lovely amount of 2 way stretch and this makes this dress very comfy to wear and very flattering.
I haven’t washed it again yet so can’t comment on how well the colour is lasting, but I think it will be a nice warm and cosy dress on colder days. It comes in a grey colour too which would make a lovely sweater dress like the Molly.
Posted in Projects on Monday the 2nd October 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello there! I’m Jo, known over on Instagram at @theunfinishedseamstress. Minerva Crafts are very generously sponsoring my sewing challenge, Sewing The Scene, so it only made sense to make my projects with their gorgeous fabrics, and share them here! So, what’s the challenge?
Well, I know I’m guilty of a lack of focus when it comes to using inspiration in a productive way. I may love this or that look, but then get distracted sewing the newest pattern or fabric from my stash, instead of planning something special from scratch. And I get a lot of inspiration from films. Like, A LOT. So this challenge is for those of us who want to copy a look from a film or TV show (I think one person is doing a music video!), and just bring it into our real lives. To be clear, I’m not talking about a costume: I mean straight-up stealing some movie style for myself, for my everyday life. So if you want in, just make something inspired by film or TV, and post it on Instagram by the 15th of October using the tag #sewingthescene!
This blouse is inspired by one of my favourite films, Amélie. As I mentioned on my blog when I was planning this project, I’ve particularly loved this one look since I first saw it: a black spotty button-down top (dress?) with a sweetheart neckline. She wears it several times, each time a little differently, but it always looks so good. I love a sweetheart neckline! Why haven’t I sewn anything with this neckline?! (See what I mean about using inspiration?) So, I found this fantastic Vintage-Style Mini Spot Print Cotton Dress Fabric from Minerva Crafts, and immediately thought of this Gertie/Butterick Sewing Pattern.
Pretty good match, right? This vintage-style fabric is reasonably sturdy, and was a dream to sew with. Easy to cut, easy to sew, easy to press. I’ve had a summer of sewing with very slippy fabrics, and it was a delight to go back to cotton. I feel like it’s going to wash well, age well, and wear well - that this garment could be in the category I like to call “future vintage’. In other words, it’s made to last. The pattern, though probably not for true beginners, is pretty straightforward. It has darts for fitting, in fact darts all over the place - 4 in front, 4 in back, and it’s finished with facings. While I’m not usually one for a va-va-voom tight fit, I did find that I had a little too much ease in the bust to begin with. Easily fixed, but I might grade between sizes if I sew this one again.
To me, this blouse is ALL about the neckline. In itself, I really love how it’s turned out. As a knock-off, I do think maybe I should have tried softening the inward corners. The sharper angle feels slightly rockabilly to me, which is fun but not my usual style, nor is it an exact copy.
Styling-wise, a red cardigan feels accurate. Jeans do not, but realistically this is how I will wear it most of the time. Forgive me for being ever-so-slightly rumpled, I had a full day of mom-duties (as always) before we snapped these pictures. The good news is that I can definitely do life in it, shopping, playing, even nursing.
And just to give you an idea of the true fabric colour without my Amélie filter (indulge me in my Audrey Tautou fantasies!), one more on the hanger. The facings are backed with Fusible Interfacing from Minerva (that actually fuses!), and I love these cute Fish-Eye Buttons as well. I think a simple button was the right call!
So, overall, very happy with this project! If you need me, I’ll be perfecting my famous plum cake and resisting the urge to cut my hair. I’m gonna want it long for my next Sewing The Scene project. Watch this space!
Posted in Product Reviews on Sunday the 1st October 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello all! It’s Karen from Hyacinth Bloom here again, and today I’m reviewing some Knitting Needles that the lovely people from Minerva Crafts sent to me.
These are the single pointed Knit Pro Symfonie Knitting Keedles. They are made from laminated birchwood, which is supposedly a stronger material than other types of wooden needle on the market. The Knit Pro Symfonie range includes not only these straight needles, but also Fixed Circular Needles, Interchangeable Circular Needles and Double Pointed Needles. All of these different types of needles are made from the same eye-catching multicoloured wood. I will be honest and say that it was the colour of the needles which were a major selling point for me!
I learnt to knit using ordinary Metal Knitting Needles, because that was what both my mother and grandmother used. A year or so after I started knitting I bought a set of wooden needles in a post-Christmas sale. I realised then that I preferred the feel of wooden needles in my hands. I can’t quite explain why I favour wooden over metal needles, it’s simply the feeling of warmth and comfort I suppose. (They also don’t make that vaguely annoying, metallic clicking noise so characteristic of metal needles). The wooden needles I own are perfectly functional, but pretty ordinary and unbranded. These Knit Pro needles, however, are not only functional but also pretty to look at and admire in all their multicoloured glory.
Okay, back to the sensible part of the review. I received a pair of size 5mm needles that measured 40cm in length. As well as the different types of needles, the single pointed needles also come in a variety of lengths, ranging from 15cm up to the 40cm I received. And goodness me these are certainly some big needles! The 40cm length increases my wing span quite significantly, making these needles unsuitable for travelling (unless you’re willing to continually elbow your fellow passengers). I think I will probably always prefer a circular needle for travel knitting projects. What these straight needles are perfect for, however, is knitting large patterned garments. I chose to use my needles to knit an aran-weight jumper with a central cable detail. The long length of the needles means that you can spread your stitches right across and really see what it is you’re trying to do (without dropping or fumbling your cable needle like I normally do).
These needles were a pleasure to use (as well as to look at). The points are not sharp enough to damage your fingers, but they have enough of a point to work the yarn easily. (At no time did the needle try to split a stitch in half). The needles felt sturdy in my hands and I was never concerned about the needles breaking in any way. With the multiple layers of laminated wood there is, I suppose, a possibility that the needles could splinter (particularly perhaps on thinner needles such as 3mm). These Knit Pro Symfonie knitting needles are at the higher end of the market for wooden needles. They don’t necessarily do anything new or different to what budget, unbranded needles can do. Yet I do think the money is worth investing as they are a joy to handle and use. I will definitely be using these 5mm needles for future aran-weight projects and will almost certainly be getting more Knit Pro Symfonie’s in various sizes to add to my ever-growing needle collection.
Thank you Minerva Crafts for this colourful addition to my hoard of knitting needles and thank you all for reading!
Karen @ Hyacinth Bloom
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 30th September 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be offered some of this beautiful, tropical print Viscose Fabric to review for Minerva Crafts. Naturally, I jumped at the chance, and was sent 3m of this turquoise shade.
I was really impressed with the fabric when it arrived; for the price point, I found it to be surprisingly high quality, with a medium weight and a nice, smooth drape. I prewashed it immediately and again was pleasantly surprised to see how well it washed. There was a little shrinkage but that is totally normal on this type of fabric and definitely no more than I expected to see.
At this point, I was about to cut myself out a lovely, flowing maxi dress for our holidays. However, that was when my daughters saw the fabric and also fell in love; such is the life of a sewing mummy! So I generously agreed to share the pretty fabric, and went off to find the perfect patterns.
Or, as it turned out, kind of one pattern for all.
I had already made myself a version of the True Bias “Southport” dress, destined to be a poolside cover up for our fortnight in Cyprus. I really like the style, it’s an easy sew and it has pockets, which are always a winner for me. I remembered that there is also a mini version of this pattern, showed a few images to the girls, whose approval it met with, downloaded and printed it out.
Sewing the dress for me only took a couple of hours, thanks to my switching out the buttons on the front for some Prym Love Snaps. I had a pack of these in a variety of blue and white shades, which fortuitously matched the shades in the viscose. I admit to nabbing my favourite turquoise ones for myself (I had, after all, already sacrificed my maxi dress!), and used matching pre-made bias binding to finish the neck and arm holes.
The viscose proved to be really easy to sew with. Despite having a really good drape, it wasn’t especially slippery and behaved well under the sewing machine needle. I overlocked every seam as I went, and would recommend doing so, as I think this stuff is likely to fray if not finished off well. My machine has an overlock stitch which would have worked just as well, but the overlocker is faster so I went with that.
By the time I was sewing up versions for the girls, I felt very familiar indeed with the style of dress and construction. The child’s version is even easier than the full sized one, given that it has no pockets and it also obviously doesn’t need bodice darts. For both versions, I chose to match the snaps and the pre-made bias, using navy on the larger version and white on the smaller.
All three dresses proved to be absolutely perfect on holiday and were thoroughly comfort tested in the heat; the Cypriot heatwave topped 37°C and the dresses remained cool and comfy, both by the poolside and going out for dinner.
Thanks Minerva, we all really enjoyed this fabric!
Becca @ Red W Sews
Posted in Q&A's on Friday the 29th September 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Can you tell us a little about you and your blog?
Greetings, my name is Schmetrice. I am from Arkansas, USA. Family, Nature, Beauty and Fashion are the aspects of life I am most passionate about! I have always been a creative person, from writing stories, singing, playing music, bead weaving, sewing, making things from clay and vegan cooking. I was always encouraged by my parents to do what I am interested in. After moving into a new City I started my blog in 2012, it was originally called, “the bored housewife…”. Back then I was posting food pictures and articles about things we made during sewing guild meetings. One day, I got a special request from my oldest who was then 7 years old; he wanted a “sleep” buddy? I was like, what? Can you draw what you are talking about? So he did! What came next, became the blog’s new mascot and the site name changed to What Sew Funny. I still collect dolls, and now, have someone to play with them, the stories my daughter and I come up with are hilarious! The blog features doll videos, custom toy how-to tutorials, sewing and beading projects.
When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project?
As far as I can remember, I started young making “mud pies”, building forts with sticks, and making various art pieces from play-doh. My granny and mother sewed everything from quilts to the clothes we wore. I often got in trouble for breaking/touching their sewing machines. I was inspired by watching them and wearing their latest creations. When I got older, I was given my very own real sewing machine (Singer). I also learned to crochet from my mother. The first project I made on my own was sewing a dress for my Barbie doll and a crochet shawl!
What is your favourite craft?
My favorite craft(s) would be sewing and bead weaving.
What do you love most about crafting?
I love the process of bringing an idea from 2-D to 3-D! Getting something new and original is great too, but the journey between A-Z is what I love.
Do your friends or family craft along with you?
It was my granny and mother before they transitioned, but now I share the love for crafting with my children.
Who do you make things for?
I make things mostly for myself. However, I happily oblige the younger family member’s special requests.
What made you decide to start to blog about crafting?
Where I am from, the Arts aren’t appreciated as much these days. For example, sewing and bead weaving are quickly becoming a lost skill. There are none among my peers that share an interest in them, so blogging helps me connect with others that do have a love and appreciation for the Arts.
Do you have a favourite snack when crafting?
My craft areas, are a no snacks zone. Tea/coffee are welcomed though!
What (3) sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?
What are your favourite fabrics too sew with? And why?
My favorite fabrics are wax fabrics, because of its durability and vibrant colors.
What is your favourite product on the Minerva Crafts website and what would you make with it?
My favorite products are all of the Women Sewing Patterns. I would make a new closet of fashion!
How many projects do you have on the go at one time?
I usually work one project at a time to give it all the attention and details it deserve. But one project can mean several mini projects like fabric accents, shoes and jewelry. “…yea, the world’s my runway…”
What’s your favourite thing you have ever made?
My favorite thing I have ever made would be our mascot, “Buddy”! From just a few pieces of scrap fabric to a useful item. When I was pregnant with our last child, it was the biggest I’ve ever gotten. I had back aches and swollen feet! It was useful for my back, propping my feet up and it stylishly fits every occasion where a travel pillow is needed.
What is your latest WIP (Work in progress)?
Yes, my current work in progress is a drafted dress pattern from my measurements. It was drawn to mimic the print on the dress. I call this new dress, “Umbrella” dress. The bodice and waistband is designed to stop at the belly button with box pleated skirt, double piped hem and bead embellishments to fabric print.
Do you watch TV or listen to music while you craft?
Yes, I watch other sewists, Netflix, talk shows or listen to a music playlist
What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start crafting?
Do you have a crafty tip you would like to share?
Do you follow other blogs? If so which blogs?
Yes, Amazing Women’s World.
Do you have any advice for new bloggers?
Find your niche and never give up!
Could you sum yourself up as a crafter in 3 words?
What are your crafting ambitions?
My crafting ambition is to have an amazing closet full of fashion, my house to look like the inside of a museum and for my blog to witness it all!
What would you say to anyone looking to start a new craft?
Greetings, My name is Schmetrice…
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 28th September 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
I have crocheted and knitted with all sorts of yarn in the past, but this time I was looking for something a bit different - and this Can Can Yarn is definitely different. Most people seem to make scarves with it, but I needed something out of the ordinary. When the yarn arrived, I couldn’t believe how gorgeously soft it was. It is also very substantial and weighty and would need a bigger crochet hook than I had in my set. I raided our knitting and crochet groups chest and found a size 9 hook which would do the trick. Now, what to make?
What about a bathroom rug? That would look lovely in this yarn and wonderful underfoot. So here it is…..
Well, here it was - I got this far and then thought – this isn’t really that out of the ordinary – apart from the size.
Then inspiration struck. I realized that the new grandson was to arrive imminently and he needed something. Out came the hook, unraveled the mat, rewound the yarn and started with just an image in my head and not much else.
I started just like the sole of a baby bootie and grew from there….
By the time it got to the top I needed to firm it up. This required a fiberglass rod – hence the gloves - not your usual crochet project! I wasn’t happy with the rod so this was removed and replaced with some hardboard pieces covered in a lovely flannel.
Any ideas what it is yet?
Edging around the top gave it a nice finish and then I was ready for the finishing touches.
It took a bit of getting used to crocheting with such thick yarn and hook, but in no time at all, this was finished and ready for the new family member.
This Yarn was a pleasure to work with and soft to the touch, which is so nice when crocheting. The finished result was a surprise for me as well as everyone else. They were amazed that anyone would crochet a baby bed/ Moses basket and I was impressed that it went together in just a few hours and with no idea of a pattern or the finished result.
The stitches came out nice and smoothly with no tension issues.
This was a real joy to make out of the CanCan Yarn and I know our new Grandson (nicknamed Thundercat) is going to have many good sleeps in his cosy crochet basket.
Of the 10 balls of 200g that I received from Minerva, I still had a ball and a bit leftover. Not being one to waste anything, something had to be made with it.
I know, a throwback to my past – the 1970s to be more precise. An era of slightly questionable home décor taste but definitely better fashion sense than the 1980s – in my humble opinion anyway ?
Now, if you were around in the 1970s and didn’t have one of these hanging somewhere in your house, I can only assume you were stranded on a desert island!
Yep, you guessed it – Macrame – the must make craft of that era. A pot plant hanger was the perfect thing to make with my leftovers.
With the help of some YouTube tutorials, it took me no time at all to get my fingers back into the old familiar stitches. Ta da! A pot plant holder fit for any retro/vintage space. I think it turned out rather well, and now I am really in the ‘in crowd’ because I believe macramé is making a comeback. So, whether you were around in the 1970s and loved macramé or this is your first experience of it, this yarn is definitely worth it to try out a new craft.
Thanks for reading,
Michele @ Swiss Army Wife
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 27th September 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Tuesday the 26th September 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
This past few weeks I have had the pleasure of trying out these amazing value Variegated Embroidery Thread packs. 72 skeins of embroidery thread for just £7.99!!! That works out at just 11p per skein!
Lovely bright colours.
But were they comparable to my usual DMC or Anchor threads at around 80p per skein? Considering the amazing value I was keen to find out.
I have been doing quite a lot of embroidery recently. I have some books of contemporary patterns I use a lot. I have copied many projects from these two books, Modern Folk Embroidery by Nancy Nicholson and this, Zakka Embroidery by Yumiko Higuchi.
I also use pinterest a lot. You’ll find my embroidery board here.
I didn’t want to show these variegated threads off using a standard cross stitch sampler as there are lots of examples of that around. I wanted to show instead how these threads were really useful in an embroidery needlepainting technique.
Needlepainting goes by several other names, including thread painting, long and short stitch shading, and silk shading. Needlepainting is a technique used for filling areas realistically and for “painting” images with needle and thread.
The stitch commonly used in needlepainting is long and short stitch and, if you are good at it, can achieve very fine, artistic detail. I thought I would have a go at some pansies.
Of late I have been freehand drawing designs onto linen. Of course, I practice first.
I like to use these Frixon pens which I bought at my local supermarket.
The Frixon pen marks disappear with heat (the iron) which is great if you make a mistake or don’t quite cover up the pen marks when you are stitching. I don’t find use wash away markers suitable as I don’t really want to get a framed piece wet after completing. Air erasable pens would not be suitable for this either. The marks would disappear long before I finished my stitching!
The great thing about the variegated threads is that you don’t have to keep changing threads to change colours. And because the thread colour changes gradually, you have all the shades of colour you need in one length of thread!
All this flower is just from one orange variegated skein. I concentrated on putting the lighter sections of the thread towards the centre of the flower. Using lots of different length stitches close together is the key behind getting a good finish to the flower.
I completed 3 pansies. The orange one is my favourite. I used solid colour thread for the centres.
I wanted to frame my piece for my embroidery wall and liked how it looked in the Embroidery Ring.
To do this, after ironing away my pen marks by ironing on the back and using a pressing cloth, I put the fabric back in the ring and tightened the screw really tight using a screw driver.
Next, I trimmed away the excess fabric and glued it to the inside of the ring used a Glue Gun.
For a neat finish I like to glue a circle of felt to the back. This is the Patterned Felt from Minerva.
Here is the finished product.
Hung in my downstairs loo with my others!
Where else would you get the time to admire them?
So, were they comparable to the DMC skeins?
I wouldn’t use them in the same project as they are slightly more matt than the DMC threads. Also they did have a tendency to wear after pulling them through the fabric multiple times and occasionally snap.
However, when you weigh up the supreme value I would definitely recommend them to someone who was just starting out in embroidery. This value pack or the Solid Colour Pack is a great way to build up a really good variety of colours at very little cost.
Thanks for reading,
Lucie @ Love, Lucie
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 25th September 2017 by Vicki Ormerod