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Holiday Sarong

Hello again. 
Well since I last was speaking on our blog Vicki and Richard have got married. I am sure you will by now have seen Vicki's blog post of the wedding day and what a wonderful day we had. My 12 weeks of continuous wedding sewing is over! I did enjoy myself very much but I would be lying if I said it all ran smoothly. There were moments when I could have screamed with frustration or cried in anger. However on reflection I think my main problem was I didn't allow myself enough time with the 12 weeks. There was always something interrupting my sewing either a customer query that needed my help or I had to cover for staff on holiday. Now I can honestly say I am not frustrated or angry and am looking forward to sharing plenty of my sewing, knitting and crochet projects with you. I am also hoping to try a few crafts that are new to me. Patchwork and felting being top of the list.
In a few weeks time I am going on holiday. First stop will be Niagra Falls for one night, then on to Las Vegas for 3 nights taking in a trip to the Grand Canyon. Last but not least we then travel to Palm Springs to stay in a beautiful villa. And yes I will have my knitting or crochet with me. I may not even do any but I cant stand the thought of not having anything with me.
Year after year I take the same sarong with me on holiday. I've always said I would never buy another one because lets face it, it is a 1 metre piece of fabric that is 1.5 metres wide, hemmed on all 4 sides. 
Here at Minerva we have a collection of semi sheer fabrics at just £3.99 per metre that are absolutely ideal for sarongs. I have chosen the turquoise fabric probably because I I have just treated myself to some turquoise sandals. 
We have placed these fabrics in a basket near the counter in the Minerva Craft Centre and as I expected are selling well for sarongs. They would also be ideal for beach dresses. Floaty dresses would be quite stunning in these fabrics too but they would require lining. So going back to my sarong I am using about 90cm of fabric because I am quite short but 1mt would be suitable for most people.
My friend who has a pfaff sewing machine like myself has lent me a 4mm rolled hem foot. I've had a go but I need to get used to it first. Cotton is probably the best fabric to use to get used to this foot. I've had a look on YouTube and each video seems to be using cotton so trust me to be using a silky fabric when first trying this foot out! And so I am just turning the fabric under twice approx 1/4" and sewing with a straight stitch this time round. But I'm definitely going to have another try with that foot in the future when I've more time!
Voila, one gorgeous sarong!
Cindy (my friend who loaned me the foot) is having a girl's night in, in October. She is raising money for a school to be rebuilt out in Nepal. At this point in time Cindy has made around 14 bags and other friends have made crochet scarves etc. So while I have been hemming the edges on my sarong I thought why couldn't I do the same with a half metre piece of the fabric and make a silky scarf. I could make quite a few of these when I get back off holiday and donate them to 'Cindy's night'.
And so I've made one scarf so far but until then I am using it alongside my sarong on the dummy in the Minerva Craft Centre as in the photo above. I have tied the sarong at the side and the 'top' at the back. I think it looks pretty good don't you?
Until next time,
Annette xx
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Pattern of the Week Kwik Sew 0116 - Ellie & Friends Animal Toys

Hi de Hi Crafters!
I had to double take when I researched this pattern. Had I typed the number in correctly? Was there a misprint? No. No there was not! This week's POW is designed by the marvelous Ellie Mae and is 100% definitely a trio of adorable stuffed animals!
I'm going to write this and pretend that I'll be sewing one of these for my partner's niece, but we all now that it's almost completely for me. That hippo must be mine! the fun thing with this pattern is you only need a fat quarters to create each animal (2 fat eighths make the Elephant and the Hippo, with a fat quarter and a fat eighth for the Giraffe) so you can have a lot of fun mixing and matching Quilting Fabrics, completely tailoring it to your wants and needs. 
For Hippie here, I'm imagining our Gray Herringbone Cotton Quilting Fabric by The Design Studio Collection for Camelot Fabrics
and for the contrast tummy (Oh yes, they have contrast tummies!) I'm thinking Michael Millar'Chrome Drop Cloth Poplin Quilting Fabric
What about little Ele?
Having done a little bit of maths, a fat eighth is just little smaller than a size of A4 so why not go wild with some felt fabric!
"Won't that be a bit plain for you K.B.?" I hear you cry. Yes it would, had we not just received a whole new range of Camelot Fabrics Felt! They are to die for. I'd team this above orange with this gorgeous Mandala Print below for the ears and tummy. I think the Jaffa Orange Felt would really bring out the deep yellow/orange the Mandala print is in.
Now for Gerri you need a full fat quarter and a fat eighth (Gerri got a lot of neck!)
Because you've got a but more surface area I'd love to use Gutermann Vero's World Lizzy's Garden Hearts Quilting Fabric in brown. The Hearts are just adorable!
For the contrast and spots, I think the new Camelot Fresh Solids in Au Naturel is the one for me
This is a nice Easy pattern to get in to, particularly if you want something to do with the kids over the holidays, and for just £4.50 you're really onto a winner!
Be sure to share your makes! 
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Keep Crafting!
Katie B xo
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Fake it 'till you Make it!

How often do you go out shopping, see something and think "...I can make that!" Well I had this in a big way the other day. I'm jetting off to a music festival in Budapest this August so I've been searching around for some clothes and accessories to take and on my travels around various shopping outlets I noticed a significant amount of faux leather and suede, often in the strangest places! Bags, yea sure, but leggings? Tank tops? I'm serious! I have to say they look amazing so I wondered how much of this high fashion could we crafty lot make ourselves? Turns out, a fair amount! So here's my run down of how to Fake It 'till you Make It with faux leather and suede!
Let's start with the obvious, a bag. Probably one of the most iconic leather fashion accessories at the moment is a Satchel, which upsets be a little bit because I've wanted one FOREVER and now everyone has one haha. Vogue have a great Satchel Sewing Pattern which would suit out Fire Retardant Leathercloth Faux Leather in brown down to the ground. The leathercloth has the structure to carry off such a classic pattern, and the brown gives that perfect vintage touch.
Another classic making a comeback is the 90's mini ruck sack! The 90's revival is hitting some of us in the office pretty hard as this is the first time we've seen fashion we remember first time around (eek!) but it does mean we get to re-live our youth and these tiny bags are softening the blow. Butterick 4583 has the trend down with their "utility bags" and I feel our Wine Vintage Effect Marble Faux Leather is bob on!
Going slightly more fashion forward, Liz over at Say Yes has this uber-fashionable fold over clutch tutorial which is amazing. It's so simple and you could easily whip it up for a night out! I'm also in LOVE with the contrast zip. Divine!
I spy this in our pre-quilted faux leather me thinks!
Why not add an accent to your fold over? Cherie at You and Mie has this marvelous Faux Leather Accent Foldover Clutch tutorial that is to die for. You could easily rock this out of a fat quarter of quilting fabric, too! Or maybe a calico with your own design in fabric paint? The world is your oyster!
Moving on to clothing, you're really looking at more fashion than utility, so our Soft PVC Faux Leather is going to be the place to go. I've whipped up a dress in the stuff and it is a-maz-ing to work with. Easing in the sleeves was a dream, and I'd never done sleeves before!
Nicole of The Felted Fox has a great tutorial to revamp and old sweater using Faux Leather! Her Faux Leather Sweater DIY is so simple to follow, and I really do love the result! Much better than anything I've spotted off the rack. I love the structure in the shoulders, and because of the nature of the faux leather there's no hemming! 
Carrying on with clothing and the no-hemming style is Cotton and Curls with a great DIY for a Faux Leather A-Line Skirt. A classic with a twist? Right up my street. I think I'd go a step further and maybe rock out our Navy Blue Soft Faux Leather!
 
The great thing with faux leather is that it doesn't need hemming so you can really rock the grunge look, or use hole punches and/or an awl to create detailing around the hems. If you're not a fan of the unfinished look, you could easily polish it off with a leather bias binding. I used the brown as a contrast to the burgundy faux leather on the dress I mentioned earlier  and it really finished it off.
Whilst we're on the subject of dresses and contrasts, Simplicity has a great pattern in the form of S1314 Top, Trouser Pants & Dresses which is made for contrasting texture, colour, all sorts. What's also great is it's designed for "leather like fabrics", amongst many others, so you can really go to town with experimentation. 
Another big fashion item of late is Leather Leggings. Not trousers, leggings. I know, I'm confused but I have to admit they are very stylish and look more like the jegging trend than anything. Fashion forward as ever, Burda has this covered with their 6855 pattern, Skinny Fit Jeans in 3 Styles
Yet another reason to love the  Soft PVC Faux Leather is that is actually has a bit of stretch to it! Similar to how standard woven fabric has give across the bias, the Faux leather gives and takes when worked, making it really comfy to wear and work with and it's perfect for this Burda Pattern. What's really interesting about it is that the back of view B is designed to be made in a different fabric to the front. A stretch fabric. 
So you could easily create a really fun contrast with a standard black jersey, for example, or you could utilize a Coated Jersey like our PU Coated Double Jersey.
Match made in heaven much? 
The contrasts on View C would be a great way to use up your scraps from other projects, too. 
Now whilst we're on the topic of scraps, there's a lot of accessories to be made from your leather project off cuts. Natasha at Tasha Delrae has this wonderful tutorial for a No Sew Faux Leather Peplum which is a great staple to keep your wardrobe up to date. Great for holidays, too, to keep your looks fresh! 
Moving onto smaller scraps, Christina of DeSmitten has a great tutorial for a DIY Celine Bracelet with some strategic scrap gluing and a round buckle. Tres stylish.
Stylish storage solutions are always a winner, and Luisa of Why Don't You Make Me has a lovely tutorial for DIY Cord Tacos a neat, stylish and crafty way to stop your headphones or charger wires getting tangled in your bag. Perfect for those about to take on an adventure, or those like me who have a TARDIS of a handbag! Another excuse to personalize with fabric paint, too.
More nifty storage solutions from Autumn at It's Always Autumn in the form of a DIY Card Holder. Now she's designed these with trading cards in mind, but I totally have enough store cards and memberships to fill this bad boy and I'm sure I'm not the only one! I also have a deck of Magic the Gathering trading cards soooooo may need to make two!
Heading back towards fashion over function with this AMAZING DIY No Beading Beaded Bracelet by Honor at Home Heart Craft. This tutorial has really got me into the festival spirit and I may need to dig out my leather scraps and pick up some Dylon 3D Paint and Snap Fasteners to make this!
My all time favourite DIY I've found is for a DIY Leather Lunch Bag. There are many designer versions of this item, Jil Sander and Michael Kors to name a few, but who really has £460 to spend on these? I certainly don't so this is a true Fake It 'till you Make It make! The best tutorial I've found for one is by Le Fanciulle. I love the pinking detail on the top!
So what do you think of the Faux Leather Craze? Works for you? Bit O.T.T.? Let us know and be sure to share your makes! Stay tuned for Fake it 'till you Make it! Pt. 2, Suede!
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Keep crafting!
Katie B xo
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Q&A with Frankie of KnitWitsOwls Sewing Blog

Hi everyone,
You may remember Frankie from the last time she was featured on this blog. She blogs over at KnitWitsOwls, a knitting, sewing, refashioning, thrifting and all round craft blog! I recently go in touch and asked if she would like to do a Q&A guest post for all of your to read to get to know her a little better. On her blog Frankie describes herself as 'I'm a crafter, I knit, sew and paint, in fact there's nothing that's safe from me and my scissors'...a girl after my own heart :)
So without further ado, meet Frankie...

Can you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?

I'm Frankie, I'm 22 years old and i live in Kidsgrove near Stoke on Trent with my fiance and little boy. I'm a stay at home mum, so I started my blog www.knitwits-owls.blogspot.co.uk as a way of re-finding the grownup crafting me!

When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project?

I started crafting very young, according to my mother I could knit by the age of three and she taught me to sew not long after. I have very vivid memories of my first sewing project being a little handmade doll made from one of my dads old shirts, complete with wool hair and a wonky mouth! After my first project things started to spiral and before long i was sewing on my mums machine and demanding my own!

What is your favourite craft?

This is a tough one! I think it really depends on my mood, some weeks I'll knit continuously, sometimes I'll bust out 5 items of clothing in a week and if I'm feeling under the weather I tend to quilt. I think it depends on my mood and my emotions. But all in all I'd say those are my top three! It also depends on how my hands and back are feeling, my doctor says that years of sewing and knitting has given me arthritis in my hands and a bad back, he suggested I stopped crafting.... My solution? If my hands start to hurt from knitting I'll start sewing!

What do you love most about crafting?

The peace, its like sinking yourself into a good book, the entire world melts away and leaves you with hands and materials, trying to make something beautiful. I think it's primal really, even the cavemen wanted to make pretty things, they used cave paintings, we use copious amounts of fabric and yarn! Most of which we stash away because its just too pretty!

Do your friends or family craft along with you?

When I lived at home my mum used to pop her head in every now and again , but now I have my own house and family I tend to see crafting as my little bit of 'me time'. And as a mum of a spirited three year old it can be quite nice to have some quiet time every now and again! Saying that I am very excited to be working with my sister on a Ralph Rucci coat project this year! She's a first time sewer so I'm sure its going to be an experience that neither of us will forget in a hurry!

Who do you make things for?

Anyone and everyone! My favourite thing is to make things for myself! However I also make knitted and sewn items to order. And make things for very special family members! I recently made a blouse for my mum and I'm currently working on a truck load of baby gifts as my best friend is expecting! Generally I find that if someone finds as much joy as I do in something I make then I don't mind making something for them!

Knitted Yoda doorstop made to order!

What made you decide to start to blog about your crafting?

I read blogs for ages before I started blogging, in fact they were what really inspired me to start making things again after I had my little boy, I remember spending hours pouring over Handmade Janes blog looking at all the beautiful things she'd made and wondering if I'd ever be that accomplished! The main reason though was that I was terrible at finishing projects, and whereas before I had my own craft room, now I have to share the house with two other people who arn't always pleased to find half finished projects in every corner. My blog forces me to be methodical, and it also shows me how far I've progressed in the past year, from learning new knitting stitches to finishing garments to a high standard! Not Handmade Jane standard quite yet, but one day I'll get there!

Do you have a favourite snack when crafting?

Biscuits, cake? But mainly I have to have a cup of tea by my side. I'm typically British , I cant cope without a decent brew!

What 3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?

My scissors – razor sharp and brightly coloured, they are easy to find!

My tape measure – I'm a bugger for trying to do things by eye, my tape measure forces me to think properly and be precise (and as an added bonus it used to belong to my grandma!)

My little snips! - I know some people favour the unpicker but I much prefer a little tiny pair of scissors! Aside the fact they have a habit of slipping down the sofa cushions I think they are pretty awesome!

What's your worst sewing habit?

Putting pins in my mouth! Hands down this is the worst thing I do! I sit their sometimes and think “If i swallow this, I'm going to be royally screwed..... And I'll probably get blood on my fabric.”

What sewing skills would you like to learn/improve?

I'd like to do more with knit fabric, I'm hoping to crack that this year, and I'd love to learn how to make my own patterns.

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with and why?

I love cotton just because it produces such a clean finish, wool fabric because its make beautiful jackets and skirts and felt because it doesn't fray so its nice to use with kids! And also for adding small details to knitted projects!

How many projects do you have on the go at one time?

I feel like maybe I should lie? Too many? I try to keep it to one knitting, one hand sewing and one dressmaking........... I try, I also fail!

Whats your favourite thing you have ever made?

I'd have to say its between my wool skirt suit and my corset dress, I was so pleased with the fit of both of them that I took photographs immediately!

What is your latest WIP (Work in progress)? Do you have a photo?

I'm currently working on a English paper pieced hexagon quilt as my main project for the year, I've promised the boys it will be ready for winter, so they can snuggle under it when they have the flu!

Do you watch TV or listen to music while you craft?

I watch the trashiest TV I can find when I sew! Teen mom, dance moms, soaps! Anything that's easy to follow if I miss a bit when I'm ironing! The more drama the better!

What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start crafting?

Pinterest! Is there any other answer! I pin everything I love! I cant help it anymore it's like reflex, but other than that I look in magazines and read other peoples blogs!

Do you have a crafty tip you would like to share?

Take a break, when your buttonhole foot isn't working, and you've sewn the wrong pieces together for the third time in a row just stop, make a cup of tea, read the paper and take five. Before you throw your project out of the window! That and measure twice cut once! That was drilled into me by my A level textiles teacher!

Do you follow other blogs? If so which blogs?

I read a lot of blogs! But some of my favourite are, Lovelaughquilt, Handmadejane, Sozo, Scruffybadger and Tillyandthebuttons! I like it when it sounds like a blog is written by a real person and not a corporate machine. I like to hear about peoples lives as well as their crafting!

Do you have any advice for new bloggers?

As corny as it is, be yourself! There is no one in this world who can be you quite like you can. After high school and college I had to accept myself as what I am, a ditsy, messy, seventy year old trapped in a 22 year old's body! I like to keep the tone of my blog conversational, almost as if I'm talking to my friends! And don't give up on it! It's not about views or comments or how many people are looking at your page, you started blogging because you had something to say! Yes its lovely if a million people a day read it! But its just as lovely if your close friends and family read it! Or even just your mum!

Could you sum yourself up as a crafter in 3 words?

Messy, sporadic, flightly!

Knit by the age of 3? Wow that's impressive! And yes I have far too many projects on the go at once too. Thanks so much for sharing this insight Frankie. To find out more and see future projects take shape be sure to hop on over to Frankie's blog.

See you soon,

Vicki x

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Wedding Pictures!

Hello everyone!
We have been inundated with requests both in the shop and via email to share some pictures with you of all the dresses my mum and I made for my wedding day.
I'm so sorry its taken this long to get to writing this blog post. The Monday after the wedding we went straight on our honeymoon (we had an amazing time!) and were away for 3 weeks in total visiting New York, Vegas and Mexico. Since I've been 8 years old I've never had that much time away from Minerva! So coming back there has been so much to catch up on, hence me taking a couple of weeks almost to get around to writing this post!
The morning of the wedding was lovely. My mum, auntie and all my bridesmaids were there to have our make up and hair done. We were all reasonably relaxed until we realised...the little flower girls dress (Lexi) had been left at work! How on earth we managed to do this I have no idea, except to say that the day before had been a whirlwind in getting everything up to Astley Bank ready for the following day, getting presents wrapped for the bridesmaids etc., and all the other million and one things that seemed to crop up!
So anyway, we sent my dad off to work to pick the dress up and the day was saved :) Thanks Dad!
Here's a picture of my mum with a big grin/relieved look on her face when the dress was at home! 
Whilst my dad was picking the dress up at Minerva HQ he spotted a couple of cards addressed to me that had been delivered that morning. When I opened them there was a lovely card from Lucie (One of the bloggers on our Minerva Crafts Blogger Network team), thank you Lucie so much for the very thoughtful gesture. Here's me opening the card whilst getting my hair done!
Everything got a bit frantic when the clock was getting closer to 11 o'clock, when the cars were due to pick us up. My bridesmaids were brilliant and got themselves organised...and all the men too!!
Here is a picture of Lexi in her beautiful flower girl dress...
Doesn't she look absolutely stunning! The fabric we used is our beautiful Florentina Couture Bridal Lace (currently the most expensive fabric we sell!) Im so glad I picked this fabric for her. When she spun round (and she spun and spun all day!), all the little daisy on the dress came to life. It really is a princess dress fit for our little princess.
Next up some pictures of the bridesmaid dresses...
Didn't they all look gorgeous! The fabric on the dress is our beautiful Sarina lace. It fit perfectly with the theme of the day 'Classic Elegance', don't you think?
And here is my mums outfit...
Didn't she look beautiful. I'm struggling to find a picture of her dress underneath, if I manage to find one I will update this post.
Now onto other things we made for the day (I'l keep you waiting to see my dress until the end hehe).
We made the seating plan from a large mirror I bought cheap on eBay. We then printed out all the guests onto our cream card, mounted it onto black card and then onto the cream card again. We stuck all the pieces to the mirror using scotch tape, the idea being we can just peel them off afterwards and re-use the mirror. I must admit I haven't had the heart to pull it to pieces yet.
We also made all the table centres. We used wishing trees (unfortunately we don't sell these anymore and I used up every last one we had!) I used pearl garlands and randomly placed them on the trees. The pearls moved ever so slightly and looked so pretty. I am really glad I went with this idea in the end.
We also made all the stationary for the tables. I say 'we', it was mainly Anne (who some of you may know if you are a regular in the Minerva Craft Centre). Anne was a fantastic help on all things paper and card for the day. She made our invitations, order of service for the church, place cards, table numbers, menu's and was a big help in making the seating plan too. So a big thank you to Anne for all your help :)
I also made all the guest favours. These were really quick and easy to do. Chocolate hearts (covered in ivory foil) in an ivory feathered gift bag for the ladies, and black pearlised sugar balls in a glass bottle for the men (all keeping to the colour theme of course!)
Here's a view of the top table (love this photo!)...
And here's a picture of the room before all the guests were seated...
Didn't it look beautiful. I must say Astley Bank did a fantastic job on setting the room. The day before I left everything I could made up and ready for them to just put straight on the tables. But there were certain bits I had to trust them to do...and I'm a bit OCD with things like this! I left them a rather lengthy 'list' of what to do and they followed it to a T! We hired a company for the chair covers and I think they were the icing on the cake and really brought the whole scheme together in that room.
And now on to my dress. I've spent a couple of days picking out photos to show you. And now I'm writing this post I realise just how many I've picked, so I hope you don't mind :)
Whilst on the subject of photos, a quick mention to our lovely wedding photographers Lizz and Danny from DJ Archer Photography. They really were fantastic on the day and we would highly recommend them. I was really lucky with the photography because my cousin Sam had recently set up a wedding photography business not long before I got married and he offered to be an additional photographer for us for the day as an extra wedding present - so very lovely of him! So we have over 1500's photos of the day now - how lucky are we? And they are all really fantastic, I will treasure them forever as a beautiful reminder of the day. 
And so here we go with my dress. If you remember, these below were my 'inspiration pictures' for the dress. I truly believe we captured everything I loved in these old photo's.
My mum had at least 3 rounds of applause on the day (in the 3 speeches) for what a fantastic job she has done on making all these dresses.
But the wedding dress, I don't think anybody except myself and her will ever know just how much work, time and love went into this dress. I know just how many sleepless nights she had tossing and turning, wondering the best way to do every little detail. And I was by no means easy to sew for! We know a bridal seamstress who has been a customer at Minerva for more years than I can remember and has worked in the bridal business sewing wedding dresses for decades, and even she said she wouldn't touch the task my mum had with this dress! I had chosen an unusual fabric to work with (the beautiful Caroline panelled lace), I couldn't find a single pattern in the whole world that was just right so my mum had to mash different patterns together and free style parts of it. I kept losing weight so we couldn't properly start it until a few weeks before the wedding. And then there is the diamante 'cape' (although I'm not sure what the technical word to describe that part of the dress is), that was completely free styled from diamante appliques (over 150 metres of hand stitched thread went into this part alone). Plus I can't even remember the amount of times I changed my mind on what I wanted. Only my mum would have put up with all this :)
My mum has said to me this is the most demanding sewing project she has ever undertaken in the many years she has been sewing! But also the most rewarding. I think through the stress, anxiety and worry, she did actually love making it...it think hehe! So even though I've said this to her a thousand times, I want to say it again...thank you mum so much for making my perfect wedding dress become a reality. Thanks to you I had the perfect dress to wear on my perfect day. I'm actually getting a bit teary writing this!
In this full length picture below it shows off the details in the dress to its best I think. And I just love the backdrop (within Astley Bank);
Here's another full length shot...
My dad and I walking down the aisle...
My dad congratulating Richard as we walked back down the aisle as man and wife (or more likely him saying 'haha there's no going back now!')
Outside the church sipping champagne...
Some more detailed shots of the dress... 
This picture shows the beautiful neck line...
Here's a close up of the beautiful diamante detail...
Me and Richard on the dance floor (we are both such rubbish dancers haha!)...
And I've included this next picture just because I love it so much...
Have you ever seen a dress quite like it? I certainly haven't. I got so many lovely compliments on the day. And everyone said they had never seen a dress like it. Isn't sewing such an amazing skill to have? I'm so proud of my mum for making this dress. Hasn't seen done an amazing job?
This last photo of us all that I have to share with you shows all the outfits my mum made for the day...
My mum always loves it when I make something for her and I really wanted to make her something to give to her on the wedding day that had lots of hours and love poured into it. I researched ideas on google and saw some embroidered handkerchiefs, the idea being you give them as a gift so they can wipe away their tears of happiness as you walk down the aisle. I loved this idea so decided to make my own, one for my mum and one for my lovely mother in law. 
The fabric I used was our silk dupion which is the same fabric my dress was made from - I thought this was a nice touch. I then (painstakingly) embroidered this lace trimming around the edges. This took me ages, but I have to admit it was very neat and looked beautiful. I then used some stranded cotton embroidery thread and embroidered 'To Mum, Handmade with Love, 4th July 2015' in the centre. I also researched for wedding thank you poems on the internet and found some that I adapted to be more personal, one each for my mum and mother in law. I wrapped the handkerchiefs in tissue, printed the poem off on ivory paper and gift wrapped them together in an ivory gift box with a big black satin bow and a diamante brooch on the outside.
I had arranged that Richard give the box to my mother in law and my brother to give my mum hers, just in time so they could read the poems and open the handkerchiefs before I walked down the aisle. I'm so happy to say they both loved them! My mother in law has even framed hers...
So I think that's everything! Both my mum and myself would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us, cheered us on, or even just been interested to see our progress along this, what has been our most epic sewing adventure yet!
Would I recommend sewing your own wedding dress or having it made for you? Absolutely! I couldn't imagine picking a dress off the shelf could ever be so amazing as designing one yourself. And to have a truly bespoke, unique dress is something I think most of us dream of. But if you are making your own, be prepared to spend more time thinking about it, planning it, choosing materials and actually sewing it than you would think possible! This dress certainly took over our 'sewing lives' for a year or so, but I wouldn't change it for the world.
Thank you again for reading. We are both looking forward to bringing you some 'regular' sewing posts now our sewing schedule has been freed up a little :)
Until next time,
Vicki xx
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Quilting Fabrics Galore

We're all very excited here at Minerva HQ. For a few weeks bolts and bolts of gloriously colourful fabric have been paraded past our desks to Vicki's photo studio where she photographed over 1000 brand new Quilting Fabrics! The selection is truly outstanding with new lines from Timeless Treasures and Camelot Fabrics to brand new Designers such as Michael Miller and Tim Holtz! We're all so very giddy and we thought we'd share some of our favourites!
 
Starting with our old favourites, Camelot have some marvelous prints anyway as well as featuring free tutorials. Their Fresh Solids range is a breath of fresh air to the quilting game. The quality of the 100% cotton poplin has to be felt to be believed and the colours pop beautifully.
Their patterned fabrics are to die for, too! With Marvel and DC (Including special Wonder Woman Fabrics) prints for comic fans and Star Wars for Sci-Fi lovers, Camelot Fabrics are turning to the Geek Side (you should come, too, we have cookies).
BREAKING NEWS! Our suppliers have been in touch and due to lots of legal licensing stuff this fabric can no longer be supplied to the U.K.! We can sell what we have but then that's it! So get it whilst you can, I have ;D
 
Another favourite of ours is the Timeless Treasures. They have a great range of subtle, brights, traditional and funny fabrics and my top choices are a great example of that.
First up is their gorgeous Allover Butterflies Metallic Poplin, available in Turquoise, Cream, and my personal favourite Black. It reminds me of scenes from Fantasia; equal parts beautiful and dark!
Next is something I've already begged Vicki to include in my Blogger Network pack, Mustache Organic Poplin. Available in with Blue mustaches or Brown (below) this is a real winner! Especially with it's great quality.
Mustache dress anyone?
 
Moving on to our newer ranges, Michael Millar is a name I was totally oblivious to, until Catherine and Vicki schooled me and introduced me to the wonders of these designs! A lovely modern design, the Chrome Brush print is a great abstract design with paint brush strokes of bright or sorbet colours. My favourite is obviously the bright.
Going slightly more to the fashionable retro is the Rustique Trophey Print. Now I'm not a fan of hunting, but I am a fan of this fabric - all the style and no animals harmed! Available in four rustic shades, the Leaf Green is my personal fave.
Moving on to the cuter side of things, this adorable Camp Out Poplin. Available in three shades, this pale blue just steals my heart.
 
Another new face to the Minerva warehouse, Free Spirit have a great range of fabric and one that really stands out to me is their Victoria and Albert Museum collection. Working with the V&A Museum to research through their archives, this range has taken inspiration through time and place, including the Jacobean period, India and Indonesia. My top pick being their Bhandari Toraja Poplin in Indigo.
 
 A range that we've featured briefly before Rowan fabrics are beautifully bright, which I of course love, but what I really like about them are their Pre-Made Jelly Rolls and Fat Quarter Packs! For when you just can't make your mind up, these packs are brilliant at treats for yourself, or a gift for the quilter in your life. Trina recently made a gorgeous quilt from the red jelly roll over on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network, take a look at it - it is amazing!
 
Another big player in the Quilting Fabrics game, Tim Holtz has some of the most unique designs I've ever seen, taking inspiration from old and new. His Eclectic Elements Butterflight stole my heart with its anatomical text book design.
Another design that takes my breathe away is the Mercentile print. I love the vintage till numbers, it reminds me of Open All Hours!
  
A brand spanking new range from Sew Simple, featuring some truly outstanding Marble Prints. A great way to use block colours with a bit of character, or throwing a cheeky bit of tie dye effect in to the mix!
 
Yes, you read that correctly. Gutermann have introduced a truly fantastic range of fabrics and their Shabby Chic designs are to die for! The Ring a Roses Long Island Rose Quilting Fabric is divine. Available in three shades, the grey is the one for me.
Tugging on my heart strings is the Lizzy's Garden Tree & Dog design. Dog and Master sitting on a bench, looking out at the beautiful garden and weeping willow in front. Too beautiful! Of the three soft shades, the soft green wins out for me.
and if there's too much to choose from, Gutermann have made some darling Fat Quarter bundles to take the touch decision making out of the equation!
 
So that's my run down of what's new in our quilting game! What's great is, it's only getting better! There's lots happening here at Minerva HQ so keep your eyes peels for updates!
Be sure to share your makes! 
@minervafabrics on Twitter
@minervacrafts on Instagram
minervafabrics.com on Facebook
minervacrafts.com on Pinterest
Sew ya later,'gaters!
Katie B xo
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Q&A with Kelly of KayCeecreates Craft Blog

Hi Guys,
I recently met Kelly from KayCeecreates and her lovely blog! I asked Kelly if she would be interested in doing a Q&A for our readers, she said yes and so here we go!'
Can you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?
I’m 24 & I’ve been blogging now for just 3 months & loving it. I’m all about the 1950s pin up vintage style &I love to blog about this as well as all of my creative projects.
When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project?
I’ve always liked crafting but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I started taking it seriously – particularly when I moved in to my first home with my other half – I wanted to kit out our home for as little & as unique as possible. My first project was a distressed TV cabinet. 
What do you love most about crafting?
I having the time to myself, I find it really therapeutic & I really love doing it! 
Who do you make things for?
I have made several pieces of upcycled bespoke jewelry for friends but at the moment most of my projects are for my home. 
What made you decide to start to blog about your crafting?
It was the main idea for my blog really; I wanted to do something besides just focusing on makeup & fashion. 
What 3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without? 
It’s really funny this question should come up as I have this featured on my website as my “creative essentials” 1. A Good Selection of Buttons  2. Hot Glue Gun  3.A Good Set Of Pliers 
How many projects do you have on the go at one time?
It really depends, but no more than one what I call big project & then a couple of mini ones ie, upcycling jars or bunting. 
Whats your favourite thing you have ever made?
At the moment it would be my upcycled end table – made from an old 1950's suitcase.
What is your latest WIP (Work in progress)? Do you have a photo?
My current project is coffee which I’m making from wooded crates & pallets – nearly finished! Just need to make the bottom & add the wheels! 
Do you watch TV or listen to music while you craft?
I love anything old school, Jazz, funk/Soul or Motown. I also love current stuff too, Alt J are one of my all-time faves along with Paloma Faith. 
Do you have a crafty tip you would like to share?
If it’s getting too much, too fiddly or “just not going right” put it down step back & have a cuppa & come back to it afterward! 
Do you have any advice for new bloggers?
Just be yourself! It sounds so cliché but no one does “you” better than you! & also remember to take time out for yourself as well, blogging/YouTube has to my surprise really consumed my life (which I love) but it’s easy to forget you’re a human sometimes.
Thanks so much for that Kelly. If you would like to find out more about Kelly and watch her future projects evolve, be sure to hop over to her blog to find out more.
Until next time,
Vicki x
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Pattern of the Week Vogue 1414 - Smart Blouse and Trousers

Hello Again Gang!
Now, I'll admit I was a bit underwhelmed when I looked at the title of this week's POW. Smart Blouse and Trousers? Really? Then I saw it. I. Saw. IT! I held my hands up, atoned for my disrespect to the Pattern House Vogue and the Goddess Minerva and began looking into this joy of a pattern.
Look at that Blouse! The Cravat effect ruffle. The floating bodice. The Grandad collar! I was in awe. Who doesn't love a bit of androgyny in the work place, right?! With recommended fabrics of Crepe De Chine, Challis, Charmeuse (think slinky fabrics) you're going to get a lovely floaty top. I'm coveting this in our Red 'Stretch' Satin Backed Crepe. It's self lined, with a gorgeous drape. Very femme fatale!
 
You may be fooled into thinking that the trousers aren't holding their side of the pattern up, but you'd be wrong. So very wrong!
Semi fitted with a slight taper they give just enough shape to avoid being boxy but not so fitted that it counteracts the androgyny of the blouse. 
With a curved waistband and feature pockets, this look really uses the best features of gender fashions and blends them to create a marvelous garment. With recommend fabrics of WoolCrepeGaberdineGaberchino, and Linen you can find something to suit your style. I think a no nonsense Black Gaberchino would work wonders for this look.
With it being a Vogue pattern you know the fit is going to be spot on. The cut and the attention to detail is always amazing, even with a simpler pattern like this.
So why not treat yourself to a designer pattern for just £6.50 this week?! I may start dressing like this in the office just so I can use this pattern! Though I'm sure the rest of the Office will wonder who I am and what I'd done with Katie Betty!
Be sure to share your makes! 
@minervafabrics on Twitter
@minervacrafts on Instagram
minervafabrics.com on Facebook
minervacrafts.com on Pinterest
Keep on Sewing on!
Katie B xo
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FLASH SALE - New Look and Simplicity Patterns

Who doesn't like a nice surprise now and then?! Imagine our joy when we walked in to the offices today to the announcement of a sale on the entire range of New Look and Simplicity Patterns! We're a bit excited, and we think you should be too. Just look at the range of items on sale!
Shirts, Blouses, Dresses, Skirts, Accessories, Women's, Babies',  Dolls', Costumes, Big ones, Small ones, and some as big as your head!
There's the Amazing Fit collection of patterns, too, as well as Cynthia RowleyProject Runway and the Vintage range. Not forgetting the Very Easy and Easy patterns meaning you quickly can sew yourself a last minute sarong for your beach holiday, a new apron for the Great British Bake Off Wednesdays, or get your costume planning in for Halloween. The only thing stopping you is your own imagination because with 50% off it won't even hurt your bank account ;)
We're under strict instruction at Minerva HQ not to buy one of everything but we don't know if we can hold out the whole week so you'd better grab them up quick!
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Q&A with Ashley of SewnByAshley Sewing Blog

Hi Guys!,

I recently came across this lovely blog called 'SewnByAshley', got in touch with the lovely lady who writes it and asked if she would like to do a quick Q&A so you can all find out a bit more about her! Please follow the link to her blog and you can find out more!

So here goes...please meet Ashley..

Can you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?

Well, I’m freshly 30 (yikes!), and I live in Ohio. I like to think my blog is fairly accurate representation of myself, unabashedly nerdy and a bit snarky. I always try to be frank, and being able to laugh at myself and my blunders is one of my favorite traits.

When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project?

I like started sewing as a child, I think perhaps around 8 years old. I grew up in a very rural area of the US, and in that part of the country, something called 4h is prevalent for children. It’s kind of something to get kids involved, whether it be in farming, sewing, baking, etc. Whatever tickles your fancy. I couldn’t tell you the pattern company of my first project, but I remember I used maroon quilting cotton and black bias tape to make a simple dress. I also remember being absolutely PETRIFIED of the sewing machine.

What is your favourite craft?

Oh hands down sewing, though I’m quite the baker, if that even counts. I attempted to take up knitting, but I failed miserably. One day, though, I will conquer knitting! :)

What do you love most about crafting?

Without a doubt, my favorite part is just transforming a flat piece of fabric into a garment. There’s something magical about being a maker.

Do your friends or family craft along with you?

Amy of That’s Sew Amy and I sew together nearly every week. It’s an invaluable thing, having someone to bounce ideas off of and to help you when you’re stumped.

Who do you make things for?

I’m a single girl, so I must confess, most of my sewing is selfishly for me. I do, however, make bandanas for my doggies, and I have made a few garments for friends and family.

What made you decide to start to blog about your crafting?

I’m actually fairly new to the blogging world, having just started my blog last year. I started blogging after looking (let’s face it, stalking) other blogs for a few years. I love how supportive and helpful the sewing community is, and I just really wanted to contribute.

Do you have a favourite snack when crafting?

Oh not really, it all depends on the season. I’ve never been known to skip a meal, so there are usually always snacks at hand. Always coffee in the morning, wine in the evening ;)

What 3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?

Always and forever, in order;

-Iron (I love a good press)

-Seam Gauge

-A good seam ripper, because let’s face it…you’re going to make mistakes!

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why?

I love cotton lawn, but the Holy Grail is stretch cotton sateen. For my person style, I tend to prefer with a bit of structure, and not so much draping and flowing. I love the lightness of cotton lawn, but stretch sateen is so forgiving.

How many projects do you have on the go at one time?

I really try to only have one project going at a time, my sewing space is teeny, so having too many things going at once creates utter chaos.

Whats your favourite thing you have ever made?

Oh that’s a tough one. I suppose I would have to say a frankenpattern dress I made, using Simplicity 1426 and the Gertie pencil skirt from her first book. I went at it without making a muslin (gasp!), and still somehow managed to make it in one day, and the fit is perfect!

What is your latest WIP (Work in progress)? Do you have a photo?

I’m currently working on a Colette Lilly dress, in polyester satin, because I am possibly insane.

Do you watch TV or listen to music while you craft?

If I’m sewing at home, I always, without fail, sew while watching Doctor Who.

What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start crafting?

I love to browse fabrics or patterns online. Invariably, I stumble upon something that I can’t resist.

Do you have a crafty tip you would like to share?

There are so many sewing tips I could give, but I think the main thing is to not rush yourself. Have patience, and try to work through fit issues, tricky fabrics, whatever the problem happens to be. When I take the time to do it properly, I’m always so much happier with the result.

Do you follow other blogs? If so which blogs?

Oh, so many, I can’t even begin to count them all. Off the top of my head, there’s:

Handmade by Heather B

Emerald Erin

Sewaholic

Oonaballoona

Lladybird

And so, so many more!

Do you have any advice for new bloggers?

Just keep at it, don’t get discouraged. I definitely think there’s a learning curve to blogging, but it is so much fun. Reach out to other bloggers, everyone is friendly!

Could you sum yourself up as a crafter in 3 words?

Oh my! I could try lol. Perhaps…affable, determined, and chaotic. If that makes any sense at all!

Thanks so much Ashley! Be sure to pop over to Ashley's blog to find out more and see future projects come to life!

Vicki x

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