Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 11th December 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi, Amanda from Deriving Mommyhood here with a Christmas project to brighten up your tree! I swear, every year when I go to decorate for the Christmas season I’m either missing half the decorations I thought I had or for whatever reason they no longer work and the Christmas tree skirt I had was one that disappeared on me. Maybe it was destroyed, maybe it no longer matched, maybe it didn’t make it on to the ship when I moved across the Atlantic….I don’t know, but I knew that I needed a new one as I didn’t want to stare at the tree stand any longer.
I have developed more of a rustic farmhouse look throughout my house with winter décor so wanted to stay with that theme, and had come across a few of these lovely ruffled burlap versions and decided I needed my own. I started with Felt and this Jute as I loved the choice in colors. I learned many years ago that I don’t gravitate towards ‘traditional’ Christmas colors as I like them to fit in with the colors in the room already. As my sitting room is lots of greys and aquas, and the stockings I have hanging are cream and black, I went with cream, black and aqua for the jute to keep with my style.
You will need 1.5-2 yards of felt and 3-5 yards of jute (depending on the diameter of your skirt) to complete this project, as well as some bias tape and ribbon for ties (or you could create ribbon from scrap as I did). Each yard of jute gave me about 9 yards of ribbon.
To make the skirt, I started by making a circle skirt for the tree out of the felt. I folded the felt into quarters and cut a circle from the point. I used a wooden circle I had handy, but a plate or bowl would work well also. Then I also cut up one side to have an opening to attach to the tree.
Next, I made a compass from a pen attached to a piece of string. I drew circles by lining my skirt folded into quarters up with the lines on my mat, and held the end of the string at the corner. I drew a circle at 24” as I wanted a 48” diameter skirt (36” and 48” are common measures of those available to purchase….I tried larger at first and decided it would not fit in my sitting room ;) ) and cut along that line, then also drew lines with my homemade compass every 3” starting from the small circle opening as guides for sewing. I drew them while it was folded and just flipped and drew 4 times to cover the entire skirt.
Next, I prepared my jute by cutting it into 4” lengths from selvage to selvage. I stitched the short ends together on the overlocker and finished both ends by overlocking as well so it would not shed on me too much over time. I have seen others finish with trim or rolled hem on a machine, or by doing a straight stitch on the machine to have an edge with fringe but control. I liked the look of the overlock stitch so stayed with it for simplicity. I will definitely be doing a thorough cleanout of my machine after though!!! I rolled up each color after prepping so that I could unroll the ribbon while I attached.
I experimented a bit with the ruffles before attaching and determined that the jute was a little too stiff and thick for gathering cleanly, so decided to pleat instead. I used a fork to pleat the first row, spacing the pleats a fork length apart rather than having them touch. Doing it this way, for the outermost row I used about 6.5 yards of my ‘ribbon’ (the measurement of my outermost ‘ring’ was 22” or 0.6 yards from the center, so about 3.8 yards around).
I continued with the second row but decided to pleat the opposite direction between rows to add variety. I found I could pleat by hand as I got the hang of it! It definitely would also be a good idea to pin your pleats before sewing instead, but I was going for a less fussy, imperfect look. To determine how much to use for each row, you can multiply the measurement from the center by 12.28 to get a conservative amount for how much you will need, I ended up gathering slightly less on my rings and completed this 48” diameter skirt with just under 3 yards of the jute). I made some ribbons from leftover jute, overlocked them on at the opening while also finishing the raw edge, and then finished the inner ring with packaged double fold bias tape.
Ultimately I decided to cut off one row at the middle as I liked the fit around my particular tree stand to have a bit more room to make it easier to water (small children do the watering here, otherwise I would have kept that inner ring).
I love how it turned out! I think it would be lovely making some ‘ribbon’ to use out of coordinating Christmas quilting cottons, or using ribbon, or mixing jute in with either of those. Possibilities are endless!!
Thanks for reading!
Christmas cheer certainly builds to a crescendo in December, as it should. I love the feel of Christmas that brings people together.
If comes around so fast so my Christmas project is this tote bag using Christmas prints but they can easily be used throughout the year.
Minerva has an abundance of Christmas prints so I chose dark blues to make this Samba tote by Sacotin patterns. Many Christmas prints come in various colourways so I enjoyed the fabric and notion selection process on their website.
This metallic Christmas Fabric scroll print comes in 4 colourways. The navy was even lovelier in real life. The colours on the website are spot on with the fabric I received.
Any medium weight fabric can be used for the base of this tote so I picked a blue Cotton Canvas Fabric that was as close as possible.
The pattern gives you the option to use rope handles or pre-made handles so of course, I chose Prym Plaited Bag Handles to go with the Christmas swirl print design. The bag handles match the print.
Minerva Crafts website has a sewing page specifically for Bag Making and this made it very easy for me to pick and choose the bag notions I needed.
The other feature I added was to topstitch the lower panel with a two tone Guterman thread. This is all part of the fun in making bags.
Adding bag feet and the Magnetic Bag Closure was a new skill for me but they are very easy to apply. If you have a pair of scissors with a small sharp point, you can easily add the hard ware with accuracy.
Isn’t it always the way that when you want to find something in your bag, dark lining hides all your accessories? I chose this Christmas Polycotton Fabric in a pudding print in the lightest colourway. Now the background fabric is cream so while it’s a very light colour, it’s not white so continues to stay ‘white’ without showing marks from general bag wear and tear.
Show Off Time
This series of photos shows you the amount of road testing I’ve put this bag through. Most of my Christmas shopping is done thanks to my making this Samba tote in the largest size.
The internal pockets are a very useable size. Both pockets are ‘separate’ from the lining making this bag pattern very durable.
Oh. One other aspect with this pattern that will surprise and delight you. One of the internal pockets is a hidden zippered pocket.
The instructions are easy to follow and once you’ve made one, you’ll want to make it again.
The fabrics I’ve chosen are also very durable. We have a hot and humid Christmas so when I chose these fabrics they had to breath and not be ‘sticky’ for me.
Sewing bags is not my specialty but once I decided to make a Christmas bag that I can use all year long, I found all the fabrics and notions so quickly on Minerva’s website. It took very little time to find all the bits and pieces I needed for this project. I’m still thinking about future bags styles and designs based on the range of goods Minerva has.
Merry Christmas to the Minerva crew for another fun year of enabling me to continue to create and make again. I really appreciate the effort they go to stocking good fabrics and notions that are easy to find online.
Thanks for reading,
Maria @ Velosews
Hello there gorgeous sewing fairys!
For my next blog post for Minerva Crafts I chose this this absolutely stunning Stretch Cotton Sateen Fabric. I’ve had my eye on some retro dress styles for a long time and hadn’t quite found the right fabric that I wanted.
This season I have seen a lot of red with white polka dots on ready to wear garments so this finished dress is ‘on trend’ and yet it also has a retro style!
I am attempting to create a ‘Sew Tanni’ handmade wardrobe so after making this dress I know that I will be making more garments in this stretch cotton sateen – I’m thinking of an off the shoulder top with white lace added into it, keep an eye out on my Instagram and hopefully over the coming months I might get it made.
Originally for my dress I wanted a off the shoulder and ‘wiggle’ style dress with some white lace around the neckline but after spotting this Sewing Pattern I knew the white lace wouldn’t work so I am going to save that for a top! I decided to create version A.
This pattern was fairly quick to make with three main parts plus facings and bows.
I have never made a dress with ‘double darts’ on it, this was quite straight forward when following the instructions on the pattern. I was very pleased with the outcome and would use this method for fitting dresses in the future.
I had to make a few adjustments to the length of the dress as I am only five-foot-tall. Plus I am a dress size bigger on my bottom half to my top half! I shortened the length of the dress by quite a few inches using the markings on the pattern. I wanted the dress to be quite tight fitting so I stitched the sides of the dress together then tried it on, pinned in lots of areas where I thought it needed to be taken in. Re-stitched then tried it on again, I found I needed to make a few more alterations and after that I was happy with the fit. Due to the stretch cotton sateen fraying I would advise using an over-locker on the seams.
I’ve got some new over-locker thread that is quite ‘thick/fluffy’ which I love as it makes the seams quite soft to touch.
I think with this style of dress I would advise using ‘French seams’ or overlocking as this style of dress it is designed to be tight fitting so it can cause a lot of stress on the seams – especially when dancing!!
The instructions were great to follow with good step by step details. After making quite a few dresses over the last few years I would have attached the facings and shoulders different from the instructions so there wasn’t a ‘hand stitching’ stage, but that’s only because I am not as confident on my hand sewing as I am on my machine sewing.
This stretch cotton sateen has got great durability and is quite strong. Having the slight stretch in it makes this work well in the pattern so it can be made to fit snug across the curves of the body.
When putting zips into this fabric I think it is important to take time and baste it in first then stitch using the sewing machine. This is because the fabric can be a bit naughty and stretches out of place while its being sewn – I don’t always do this myself but I was so pleased that I actually did in this dress.
I love the feel of this fabric and I do think it is fast becoming one of my ‘go to’ fabrics for occasion wear. There are quite a few other designs of Stretch Cotton Sateen on Minerva crafts that I have got my eyes on…just need a bigger wardrobe and more occasions to wear them to!
Thank you for reading!
Love Sew Tanni xXx
Posted in Projects on Monday the 10th December 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
The countdown to Christmas is an exciting time for little ones and this year I decided to make a slightly different advent calendar in the form of mini stocking bunting with a matching large stocking for the big day!
Grey has been everywhere this year and so I felt this soft silver Christmas Fabric would give a contemporary feel.
To start with I drew a stocking shape freehand for the large stocking then reduced this for the bunting pattern.
To personalise I added a name to the large stocking before constructing. This was done on an embroidery machine but hand embroidery or appliqué could be used instead. To position the name I marked the centre line of the leg section and positioned this to line up with the centre of the frame.
The stocking was then stitched together and a felt cuff added to the top before hand sewing this cute bobble trim along the join.
To make the little stockings I simply overlocked the top edge then stitched two with right sides together before turning and pressing.
To number them I used Mettler Machine Embroidery Thread to stitch silver numbers onto net and cut them out. These were glued onto parcel label shapes cut out of Felt Sheets and after using a hole punch to make the hole, Satin Ribbon was slipped through and sewn to the top corner of the stocking. Decorated with individual bobbles cut from trim or little bells.
Left as individual mini stockings these could be tied onto the tree before filling with mini gifts but to make into hanging bunting I used the ribbons to tie evenly along a length of cord.
An Advent Calendar that can be refilled and used year after year!
Wishing you all a wonderful festive season!
Nicky @ Sew and Snip
When my eldest daughter saw this Meyka Christmas Jersey Fabric she instantly said “please can you make me a Christmas onesie?”. I have two daughters and luckily the fabric comes in two colourways – I’m not keen on matching outfits but almost matching sounded great!
I then set to work trying to find a onesie pattern, luckily the Minerva Crafts website has already included onsies in it’s search listings which made things easier. There are lots out there but my daughter was very specific: she wanted a hood, pockets and a zip closure. We finally agreed that Simplicity 8520 would be the perfect pattern.
The fabric was great to work with, it’s a nice medium weight, the quality feels great and no curling at the edges to grapple with. It’s a cotton jersey, which made it perfect for a onesie that I suspected the girls would also want to use as pyjamas for sleeping in.
Based on measurements, I made two sizes: Girls’ size M for my eldest daughter included the hood, and Girls’ size S for the younger one who decided that she didn’t want the hood. The pattern was easy to follow and there were just a couple of tricky elements. The first one was my own doing - I decided that I really wanted to pattern match the kangaroo pockets and spent quite a bit of time on this. I do think it was worth it though – don’t you agree?.
The other tricky part was the zip insertion. I’d never sewn a zip with jersey fabric before and found it really difficult. The problem was that as I sewed the zip the fabric would stretch out - no matter how many pins I used!
After 5 failed attempts I was getting fed up and decided to leave it until the next day. That evening I carried on thinking about the problem and got onto the internet for some extra help. I guess the answer was obvious in hindsight – interfacing. So the next day I cut some thin strips of non-stretch interfacing and applied them just inside the seam allowance.
The result wasn’t perfect, there is still a tiny bit of rippling, but it is barely noticeable. That was such a relief.
I got the girls to try the onesies on just before the final stage of attaching the sleeve and ankle cuffs. They both needed an inch taking off the legs and the youngest needed an inch off the sleeves too. Other than that I was very happy with how the sizes had turned out.
They are both very happy with the final onsies but couldn’t wait until Christmas to wear them – they have worn them virtually every day, changing into them straight after school The fabric is washing well they should still look good for Christmas day!
I was very lucky to be asked to test the amazing John Kaldor Silk & Rayon Fabric. The colours are amazing and the fabric is the softest I’ve touched ever. This fabric print is part of the John Kaldor Blossom collection. It’s quite lightweight but it drapes beautifully. I was very excited (and scary) to work for the first time with a silk based fabric.
Although at first I was a bit afraid to cut into it, in the end I went for it and chose to make a kimono style jacket. I chose this pattern as I wanted the fabric to be the star not the design of the garment. Because the fabric has a directional print, all the bodice pieces had to be cut in the same direction, which means I was not able to save enough fabric to make a cami top to as well.
As the fabric is quite precious, I’ve done some research online to see what tips I could find that would make working with silk easier. The fabric, although, very soft and light is sliding like there is no tomorrow and I did not have the courage to use stiffener on it due to it’s 60% silk content. That meant I had to invest in some white tissue paper to place the fabric in between before cutting. Also, I used extra fine pins to make sure I did not snag the fabric as I worked with it.
My sewing machine is pretty good at sewing with lightweight fabrics and I did not feel the need to use tissue paper (to avoid the fabric being pulled into bobbin housing) for all the seams. I only used it to start and turn the corner on the ties.
Initially, I intended to do French seams on my jacket, but then decided against it as that meant extra work and I really did not want to faff about too much with this fabric. I was afraid that if I made any mistakes that needed unpicking, I am not sure I could have done it without ruining the fabric and I had none to play around with. As as result, I have finished the seams after sewing them together on the overlocker/serger and reduced it to about 1 cm from 1.5 cm.
My research online advised that when pressing silk it’s very important that you press without steam as water can mark the fabric. I found that the silk setting on my iron is perfect as the fabric presses beautifully with the right amount of heat.
Due to the lightness of the fabric I chose to use cotton lawn (which is more stable) in my stash for the neckline and cuffs and adds a little interest to my jacket.
I felt that it was better to hand-stitch the hem to make it as invisible as possible. Before I overlocked/serged the bottom edge and then turned over twice and sewing the hem in place by hand.
I love, love, love my new jacket. In the past year I’ve made a few, but this one is my favourite mainly because of the fabric. It’s so soft against the skin, it feels like a caress. It does mean I tend to wear it with sleeveless or strapless tops, just so I get the most amount of skin to be covered by this silk rayon.
Here are a few of my tips for working with this fabric:
remember that this fabric is dry clean only so do not put it in the washing machine
consider using tissue paper when cutting the fabric and sewing the seams
as a beginner it might be prudent to choose a simple pattern
test, test, test! Test the needles – you’ll need to use the smallest you can find. I used a size 9/65. Test the seam you want to use on your project on fabric scraps. Use super fine pins.
when pressing do not use steam and set your iron on the silk setting. Water can mark the fabric and to much heat will ruin your fabric.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. And please do share your makes on Instagram/Twitter by tagging @MinervaCrafts and/or using the hashtag #MinervaMakes. I’d love to see what you create.
Posted in Projects on Sunday the 9th December 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I love Christmas and I love Christmas crafting, having looked for a Christmas table runner and placemat set that would match my décor and finding nothing suitable what’s a girl to do when she can sew but make her own?
For this make, I wanted to make a reversible set so I could choose a different design depending on my mood and Minerva’s amazing range of Christmas Fabrics left me drooling, I finally settled on these gorgeous cream and gold cottons and Simplicity 8032.
There are so many options with this pattern from an easy rectangle placement set, to a fun table runner with elf legs there is something here to take your fancy and make your Christmas table fun or elegant.
I settled on the rectangular runner and placemat set, which, to be honest didn’t really require a pattern but it was useful to get the approximate sizes required.
Don’t let the fact that these are simple rectangles fool you that these are easy, you definitely need a rotary cutter and mat to ensure accuracy so you achieve that professional finish, getting the four placemats exactly the same size was a bit of a challenge!
These cottons from Minerva are such high quality, the gold designs are simply stunning.
I used fusible fleece in between the two layers of fabric, this was the first time I have used fusible fleece so I made sure to follow the instructions carefully to avoid any disasters including melting it to my iron but it is very simple to use and elevates the finished product.
The only change I made to the pattern was to lengthen the runner by another 4 inches as my table is quite long, apart from this they were a straightforward sew and I didn’t really need to use the pattern instructions.
I was a little concerned at the size of the placemat pattern piece as it did seem a little on the large side but I trusted the pattern and I’m so glad I didn’t go with my gut which was to make these smaller, I think the large size works really well.
I love how these have turned out and I love how they complement my décor, but how I can change things up if I get bored. I like the traditional design of the gold swirls on one side but also the spots on the reverse make a nice change, having these reversible means on Christmas day when you’ve spilled your gravy after one too many prosecco’s you can just turn them over to use on boxing day and no one will know!
I’m so pleased I have this unique set for Christmas that perfectly matches my style and my dining room and I can’t wait to show my guests at Christmas.
Thanks for reading,
Rachel @ Stitched Up
Christmas is coming. And that means Christmas outfits, be it themed or for the numerous Christmas themed events we inevitably find ourselves attending. Therefore an outfit that dazzles as well as being comfortable is a sure fire winner for the festive season.
When it comes to Christmas fabric options, you have many routes to choose from. An abundance of novelty prints exist, or perhaps something more sparkly and glitzy? Traditional colours and prints however will never tire, and greens and reds will always be a safe bet. As soon as I saw this Christmas Fabric on the Minerva Crafts website, I knew it would fit the traditional ideal.
Called ‘Christmas Wreath’, it’s a repeat pattern featuring Christmas foliage and the cutest looking owl, available in 4 colourways. I went for the more Christmas shade of bottle green and red. It also has glitzy gold metallic patterned hearts in the print, adding to the festive vibe. It's just the right level of novelty print without being too cheesy, a cute Christmas vibe perfect for a dress to celebrate the season. Fabric wise, it's a medium weight cotton poplin, so slightly heavier than your usual cotton, making it perfect for more structured garments. It's also incredibly soft to the touch, and I couldn't help but fall in love with this fabric as soon as I saw it!.
Because of my love for this print, I wanted to create a simple dress that would really show it off, something that didn't have too many pieces so as not to have it interrupted. I instantly knew the Tilly and the Buttons Stevie dress would be perfect for this, as well as being a fairly simple sew (which is handy if you end up needing something last minute!) It's a simple tunic style dress, with a modern, boxy fit, so wouldn't need much in the way of fitting. It has a rounded neckline, and kimono style sleeves, and comes with the option of creating either a tie back or button closure. You can also customise further with the option of adding turn up cuffs and a front patch pocket, so despite being a simple silhouette you can mix it up with different extras. You can also make a top version, which I feel would be a good wardrobe staple make. It's a great pattern for beginners, and the perfect dress for adding a statement necklace to for ultimate outfit goals!
The fabric sews like a dream, and presses brilliantly, adding to the ease and speed when creating this dress.
I chose to leave off the front pocket (again, I didn't want anything to hinder the pattern!) and went for the tie back option - one because this was the first time I was sewing Stevie and wanted to see how it looked, and two because I thought it would add a nice dressy element.
Creating the ties was fairly simple, the only slightly tricky bit was turning them inside out, but Tillys instructions are amazing for explaining everything in a clear and simple manner. I went with the cuffed sleeves, and I can truly attest to just how fast a make this is - I completed it in an afternoon!
One exciting hack I did make - I added in-seam pockets! I always rave about how much I love pockets on my garments, and will add them pretty much anywhere. However I hadn't seen anyone add them to the Stevie, and did wonder for a while whether it was possible, as I wasn't sure whether adding them would distort the shape of the dress, perhaps in an unflattering way. Eventually I found this post by Like Sew Amazing and decided to give it a try and go for it - this is why we make our own clothes after all!
I followed Sarah’s advice and measured 6cm down from the waist notch, and sewed the pockets here. I used my favourite pocket pattern piece (another Tilly one, from her Clemence skirt pattern.) I was a little apprehensive while sewing, as it looked quite low down, and once made they were slightly lower than I would have like. Next time I would perhaps only measure down 4cm, but I’m now very happy that my Stevie dress has pockets!! Sarah also used ribbon for her ties on her Stevie, which I think is another great addition and will definitely be giving this a go myself on my next Stevie (of which I’m sure there will be many!)
I cannot express how much I love this Christmas dress. The simple style will be very comfortable (great for the Christmas food eating), and can be styled in many ways, while the fabric itself lends very well to the loose yet structured fit of the dress. The print is beautiful, the perfect mix of traditional yet modern Christmas, with a bit of glitz thrown in - whatever you decide to make you will definitely be the belle of the ball!
Thanks for reading,