I’ve been into embroidery for some time now, but funnily enough I have never used transfers! I normally just free-hand my design onto fabric with my water soluble pen, but I had a project coming up that I’d agreed to create as a raffle prize for a friend’s Charity event, so I decided that I would opt for Embroidery Transfers to help with the design and accuracy of my work. My friend wanted me to create something that says “Sometimes, you’ve got to create your own sunshine”. So I started off using my normal technique of drawing free-hand onto my fabric.
I decided I’d use my new transfers for the word “sunshine” at the bottom.
Deciding on thread colours was probably the hardest part of this project (well, any project, am I right?).
I used a simple seed stitch to complete my lettering, and a combination of seed stitch and chain stitch to finish the sun. Once I was finished with the free-hand section, it was time to move on to the transfers!
I’d like to just take a moment to appreciate the instructions that came with the pack. They are SASSY, and I’m here for it! There aren’t many things in this world that I love more than instructions with sass. It makes for very entertaining reading!
The transfers come printed on one large piece of paper which you then cut out the pieces that you need.
Of course, the letters are all backwards, because when you press them down onto your fabric, they’ll be face-down, and therefore will print out the right way round. I decided to cut them all out, and to do a test run on a bit of scrap fabric!
And then I was ready to go!
I was so pleasantly surprised how clear the transfer came out. It was almost clearer printed on fabric than the transfer is itself! I was really happy with this so I went full steam ahead with my “Sunshine”. I had already decided on the positioning, so I picked out my required letters and placed them onto my fabric. I did struggle with this part slightly, because I found that in order to make sure the positioning was correct, I had to move all the other pieces out of the way and do one letter at a time, which meant that my positioning was all a bit of a gamble. Also, as there are two S’s and N’s in the word “Sunshine” I had to edge my bets with the gaps that I left to reuse the letters. What I probably should have done, is transfer the “sunshine” first, so that just in case I did something wrong, I wouldn’t have to start the project all over again (oh hindsight, you wonderful thing). Having said that, this process was still super simple, nothing went wrong, and I was really impressed with the way the lettering stamped on so clearly. I pressed on each letter with the iron for about 10 seconds, being careful not to move the iron or the transfer, mid-transfer. I started off a bit nervous, and gained confidence as I went along, which I think is perfectly reflected in my finished transferring!
See how my “sun” is quite faint, whereas the “shine” is quite clear? This is determined by how long you leave the iron on for. The longer the heat is applied, the clearer the design will be, though I wouldn’t recommend any longer than 10 seconds. I then washed my fabric to remove the blue water-soluble pen I had used earlier, but also to test how permanent the transfers actually are, and it’s fair to say they didn’t budge much at all!
It was time to finish the project! Time was running out, and on the morning of the day of the Charity Event I managed to finish the piece, once again using the speediest stitch I know - seed stitch (or speed stitch, if you will).
I finished the project with just an hour to spare, and in my rush, forgot to photograph the finished project. Once I was finished with the embroidery part, I trimmed the extra fabric from around the edges of the hoop, gathered and glued them all at the back, and backed the hoop with felt, with an added felt hoop, ready for wall hanging! (For more like this, check out my Instagram @jen.elz).
My friend Kath was really happy with the finished piece and the Charity Event went on to raise a wonderful amount of money for the MS Society Cymru. Overall, I’d definitely recommend trying these transfers for your embroidery, and other crafts! They really help with accuracy, but also make your life so much easier than trying to re-create a specific style of font free-hand. The transfers are also re-usable, so they make for excellent value for money. I know that the transfers also come in a variety of images and font styles, so I will definitely be coming back for more.
Thanks for reading,
Posted in Projects on Monday the 13th August 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
When thinking of summer fabrics linen and cotton have to be a couple of the first fibres that spring to mind so I was pleased to be given the chance to try out and review this lovely Blades Linen & Cotton Fabric.
Being 55% linen and 45% cotton it’s a perfect fabric for a number of dressmaking projects and I decided it was the ideal weight to use for the longline summer jacket I’ve been thinking about.
Available in a wide range of different colours it was hard to choose but I finally decided on the charcoal grey as I thought it would be practical for an outer garment and go well with so much already in my wardrobe!
The pattern I used was New Look 6163. The unlined coat has bust darts, side splits and a small collar.
The fabric has a great woven look and a soft feel. I pre-washed in a 30’ machine wash, as this is the cycle I will use when laundering, then steam pressed before pinning pattern and cutting out to ensure that any shrinkage happened before making up.
The pattern went together well. Neck edges were stay stitched to prevent them stretching before attaching the collar. Facings were top stitched to prevent them from rolling out and the only alteration I did to the construction instruction sequence was to add the sleeves flat before sewing up the side seams as I find this easier.
The loose weave of the linen does fray and as I had chosen to make an unlined jacket I decided to finish the seams using bias binding. I made my own using a soft cotton lawn but there are some pretty premade ones. With the inch wide strips I attached to the right side of seam allowance then folded over, top stitched and pressed. The unfinished edge was then hidden under the seam allowance.
Finishing each edge like this does take a little longer but I think it’s worth the extra effort. It’s great to see a pretty inside too.
For the hem at the coat and the sleeves I opted to hand stitch. Again takes a little longer but using a slip stitch it was almost invisible from the right side.
I found the Blades Linen and Cotton blend an easy fabric to work with. It presses well to give a crisp finish to seams and didn’t crease as much as some linens I’ve worn. It has enough weight to it that I would consider using for trousers and skirts as well as cool summer dresses or soft furnishings such as a pile of colourful scatter cushions.
Loving my new coat…just need the warmer weather to wear it! Happy sewing :)
Nicky @ Sew N Snip
I was so thrilled when Minerva Crafts sent me 3m of this navy Sienna Crepe Fabric. They have such a fantastic range of colours, but Navy is one of my favourites to wear. It’s one of those great colours that feel like a neutral and a statement all at once. The fabric was very soft and drapey, and even though it is 100% polyester, I was extremely pleased to discover it didn't have that plastic-y feel that lots of polyester fabric does. It took me a while to decide what I wanted to make out of it, and I spent a lot of time stroking and draping it and wrapping it around myself, waiting for inspiration to strike. Eventually, I ended up browsing The Fold Line’s recommended patterns for drapey-fabrics, and settled on the By Hand London Orsola dress.
I’d seen a few Orsola dresses popping up on Instagram and various blogs, and though the versions I’d seen online had varied dramatically depending on the fabric chosen, the fact that it was knee-length, relatively high-necked and cuts a generally elegant silhouette, made me think that I’d get a lot of wear out of it. I thought it would be perfect for those times when I have evening work events and I’m looking to make a statement without showing too much skin. Having said that, I absolutely love the back detail on this dress, and it really was the perfect fabric to showcase that soft, petal shape wrap.
I won’t lie. I was also drawn to this pattern because of its lack of fastenings. It’s beautifully fitted but there is nary a buttonhole or zip in sight. Since I was product-testing I probably should have shown how it holds up to zipping and buttoning but…I chickened out. The fabric is strong, but it does fray rather a lot, and I wanted to save myself the heartache of ripping out a zip inserted into a slinky fabric.
A word to the wise, if you don’t have the patience for marking precise darts, this pattern is not for you. Orsola has SO MANY DARTS, and I had yet more darts to do because I chose to line the skirt as well as the bodice. In hindsight, I probably didn’t need to line the bottom half, as another great thing about this fabric is its opacity. Considering its slinky drape, I would have sworn that I would have had to be wary of using it on my bottom half…for fear of revealing too much…but even when I held it up to the light it retained a reassuringly thick weave.
A tip for working with this fabric, is spend a couple of quid on some sharp, thin needles. It will make the sewing experience a hell of a lot easier and much more fun. I recommend microflex needles, but make sure that if you do opt for sharps, that you are using a fine thread to get through the eye. If your thread is at all wooly, it’s likely that your thread will misbehave and unthread itself a fair few times…trust me, I made that mistake when I first started this project.
I love Minerva’s sienna crepe and would definitely make something with it again. I think that it would be perfect for any pattern that requires a woven fabric with lots of drape. The ogden cami, Fifi pyjamas, a woven wrap dress, the list goes on and on…
Thanks for reading,
Sonny @ sew_london
For my next guest post for the Minerva Crafts Blog I choose this funky floral Cotton Poplin Fabric. Working with cotton is wonderfully straightforward and I knew cotton poplin would give me the freedom to make pretty much any garment, which was an exciting prospect. I love the striking design of this fabric; and although modern, I can’t help but feel a little mid-century nostalgia in it and the abstract florals just top it off perfectly!
When the fabric arrived I was pleasantly surprised with how soft it was, and how vibrant the colour was on it. After pre washing there was no colour bleed or fading which I had been slightly worried about given the depth of the colours against the white background. It did need a quick iron but generally the creasing was minimal.
Wondering where to start with choosing a pattern to use, I tried to imagine what would look good with this design – a shift dress would have looked terrific and in keeping with the era I had in mind but I had 3 metres of this wonderful fabric and wanted to really make the most of it. So, I decided that a dress with a fuller skirt and a high neck, no-fuss-kinda-bodice would be best so the fabric design could be flat enough to be seen properly and appreciated. I found the perfect dress pattern to suit my requirements in Simplicity Cynthia Rowley K1873 which is a dress with crew neck option and just bust and waist darts on the bodice. I made option B, which was without the sleeves or waist tabs, but added my own decorative touches at the end.
Alterations I made to the pattern included adding 3 inches to the length of the skirt because I wanted it to end just below the knee and the pattern is designed to be above. The pattern includes a bodice lining which I always prefer to have as it just makes the whole garment feel more professional and substantial. There was no lining for the skirt included but I added one in a polyester lining fabric, in white, just to keep the colours sharp and as vibrant as they would be on the bodice with the white lining behind. The skirt lining I just gathered rather than pleated (as the skirt is) and it’s created a wonderful ‘pouffy’ shape around my hips which I love (adds to the ‘vintage‘ feel), but if you wanted a sleeker look you could create just minimal gathers at the waist as long as the bottom of the lining was wide enough to match the skirt. I attached the lining just inside the seam allowance after the skirt had been sewn to the bodice. Then you can still hide all the raw waist seam edges when you fold the bottom of the bodice lining down and slip stitch it over the top so it looks beautiful inside and out!
I didn’t actually worry about doing any pattern matching with this fabric – naughty, I know! – it was so busy and the design quite small I just didn’t think you would be able to notice any joins. Now it’s complete I still think this, so I’m glad I didn’t waste the extra fabric and time it would have needed to do this. Another note on the design is just a friendly reminder to check you’re cutting your pattern pieces the same way up. If you lay all your pieces down and cut in one go then I think you’re safe but I’m one for cutting each at a time so as to be as economical with the fabric as possible and I was worried, with only a subtle difference in the direction of the print, that I would be caught out. Luckily for me, I managed to keep my mind on the job and successfully cut everything the right way up!
Once I had finished the dress I really felt like it just needed something to be the cherry on top. I considered a peter pan collar which would have looked super cute but I rejected that idea as ideally I would have sewn it into place when I attached the lining around the neck. My next favourite accessory after a collar is a bow, preferably a very large bow! So, I added one at the neck front in a turquoise cotton from my stash which matched one of the colours in the design (the bow shape I decided on was inspired by one of the options on the earlier rejected shift dress pattern, Simplicity 1609). The waist was also crying out for a belt so, in the same turquoise cotton I made a simple belt with an amazing red flower buckle (the charity shops gods were smiling on me that day!), which matches the dress like an absolute dream.
I’m thrilled with how the fabric pattern and shape of the dress have blended and I know I’m going to get so much wear out of it throughout the year. The colours are really multi-seasonal – I can see myself wearing it with sandals and sunglasses in the summer, and thick coloured tights and a beret in the Autumn!
Thanks for reading - happy sewing!
There are some patterns which grab the attention of ever sewist on social media, those patterns which everyone has, and which time and time again come up on everyone’s insta feed. I think the By Hand London Anna dress falls into this category! Just search the #annadress on instagram and you’ll end up down a rabbit hole of inspiration from fellow sewists all sewing up gorgeous Anna dresses. When this John Kaldor Crepe Fabric arrived from Minerva, it deserved to be made into a special dress, and the Anna dress fitted the bill perfectly.
Before we talk more about the dress, let’s talk fabric first. This floral print comes in 2 colour ways - Black, and mustard yellow. I chose mustard, because surely it’s one of THE colours of 2018. The fabric looks more yellow than the picture, so it’s more vibrant. It’s also happens to be the same colourway as the marketing photos for the recent Sew Over It Libby shirt, so check that out to see another sample of this fabric “out in the wild”. Making a maxi dress in this fabric definitely makes a statement! Despite the slippery nature of this fabric, it’s a dream to work with, it’s really compliant, and even though there are a lot of panels to the skirt, the fabric didn’t shift as I cut. The fabric has a random placement of flowers on, and just a word of warning, all the flowers are up the same way, meaning that technically it’s a directional print, and you need to make sure you cut your pattern pieces all up the same way. Alternatively you can decide to play pattern tetris and ignore this completely and not let it bother you if some flowers have their stems upside down - if you look carefully you’ll see I chose this route (read: didn’t realise this until I had cut everything out).
The dress itself came together pretty quickly, despite all those pattern pieces. I chose not to go with a side seam split up one leg, as I made this to wear to a wedding in a Hindu temple, so just sewed up the entire length of that seam. That’s about the only amendment I made to the pattern. Once you have sewn up all those skirt pieces, the bodice comes together super quick, partly because there are no darts, but shaping comes from pleats at the waist seam. The sleeves are grown on, so there’s no extra pattern pieces to cut or sew, and the finish on the sleeve hems is a double turn up which is down before you sew the side seams, to make everything super simple and very neat. The Anna dress isn’t lined at all, so in these pictures I’m wearing a slip underneath, just to make sure you can’t see my undies through the dress.
I should mention that if you have an overlocker overlock the seams, I was rushing to get this dress complete, and didn’t bother, partly because there are so many skirt panels to overlock. I kind of regret this decision now, and may go back and do some seams. The fabric frays really bad, and after a couple of wears, I’ve had to cut all the fraying threads off.I’ve worn this in the super-hot weather we had at the end of June, and it’s a really good fabric choice when you want to look put together and keep cool. Despite walking around London all day in this, I didn’t melt in the heat, and it didn’t crease at all during the day. It’s certainly a fabric which doesn’t need ironing.
I really enjoyed working with this fabric, and if you are looking to make a statement I’d highly recommend using this colourway of the floral print crepe to make a special occasion dress. I’m thinking that this would also make a perfect jumpsuit, with the drape of this fabric, so maybe I’ll have add that to my summer sewing plans as well.
Thanks for reading,
Chloe @ handmadebychloe
Hey Minerva Makers!
It’s Vicky from Sewstainability here with a review of the new Gyo Top and Dress Pattern by Merchant and Mills. This is my first time using a Merchant and Mills pattern and I really enjoyed it, the packaging is lovely and I really loved the newspaper style pattern instructions. In fact, the pattern was so beautiful I couldn’t bring myself to cut into it so I traced it instead!
This pattern has a clean, geometric style. The packaging itself says it is Japanese inspired and I can totally see that. Because of this and because of several other versions I’ve seen online I wanted to go for a linen-y type material. I found this grey cotton/ramie blend Fabric on the Minerva website and thought it looked perfect. It has a crisp handle and a great texture very reminiscent of linen. It is a really great match for this pattern and there are so many colours to choose from!
I chose to make the top and I cut my size based on my bust measurement as there is quite a lot of ease in the bust and hips and I think that was the right call, there was no need for any adjustments or grading. It just pulls on over the head and so there are no fastenings to deal with, this meant it was a quick and simple sew. I enjoyed making the asymmetric straps and I also love working with patterns that have facings – anyone else? Just me?!
The top came together really quickly but I hesitated when it came to hemming. I knew the top was a cropped design but when I tried it on it seemed like if I sewed the 5cm hem it would be a bit too cropped for my liking. After a bit of experimenting I decided to bias bind the hem to retain the length and add a fun little design feature!
As it was coming together I did think it was looking really stylish, just like the Merchant and Mills promotional pictures. It was looking cool and simple and understated. So obviously I didn’t like it – I am not cool, simple or understated EVER. It just so happened that Zeena Shah (@heartzeena on Instagram) had just released a tutorial for how to print on her Tilly and the Buttons Stevie Dress with a parsnip. Obviously this was the solution to my boring top problem! I had some yellow Dylon Fabric Paint in my stash and one parsnip in my fridge – it was meant to be.
I did a few tester prints on some scraps of the grey fabric before I got stuck in. I found how to apply the paint really smoothly by dipping it and getting a nice even ‘spot’ on the fabric but I really wanted it to look hand-printed. I wanted it to look a little more uneven so I found if I applied the paint to the parsnip with my finger it would print with a patchy look I absolutely love. I didn’t have a plan as to where the spots went, I just applied them randomly. I did try and be really careful to avoid headlight boobs but apart from that there was no plan – I was just playing with paint! It was so fun!
Now it has this fun yellow pattern I am really happy with this top, I’ve worn it with jeans and a skirt and because it’s so cool and airy I think it will get a lot of wear this summer. There is only one problem I have had and that is the angle at which the skinny strap is sewn on – it is a bit too wide for my shoulder and feels like it is slipping down – something to take note of if you have narrow shoulders like me. I just need to unpick the strap slightly and sew it on a bit more straight than angled – a lesson learned for next time. I would like to make a dress version next, I’ve seen some stylish black versions out there but what do you think the chances are of me leaving it plain?!
Thank you to Minerva for sending me this gorgeous fabric and don’t forget you can find all my sewing adventures at Sewstainability.
Until next time – happy sewing!
Posted in Projects on Friday the 10th August 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I’ve gotta say I was chuffed to bits to have received 3 metres of the Camelot Cotton Fabric in the What a Gem pattern/colourway from Minerva. This was one of my choices and it was already destined to become the Nina Lee Piccadilly Pyjamas as soon as I saw it and I imagined myself sat in the sunshine on an evening drinking a nice glass of red! Okay, not in England at the moment with all this rain and cold but hey I can live in hope!
One of the first things I noticed when I laid out the fabric was the selvedge edge and the warning that it this fabric isn’t intended for children’s nightwear. I figured that as I was making for myself this didn’t apply. The fabric is also only 110cm wide and this is probably why I couldn’t fit all of my pieces on for the longer version.
Into the washer it went straight away as I was eager to get started. It washed beautifully and was dry and pressed in no time at all. My plan was to make the longer length pj’s and thought with 3m I would have ample, however, no amount of pattern tetris allowed me to get the longer length so I went for the short version. This fabric was non directional too so I was convinced it would fit.
It was a dream to sew and overlock. Even managing to get round the corners of the pockets and the button/buttonhole stands on the overlocker neatly.
As the pj’s started coming together I was getting more excited by the fabric and decided that to really make these “pop” I would need to get myself some nice turquoise bias binding and buttons. Admittedly I did buy turquoise and plain coral buttons just in case the turquoise might have been “too much”! You can never have too many buttons in your stash anyway right?? This fabric is a happy brightly coloured fabric and I managed to drop on what I think are the perfect happy buttons for popping on!
The bias went on a dream considering that I haven’t done much bias binding application in the past and really finished them off a treat. I opted for picot edge bias and it was the first time I’ve used this too. I made sure to press each and every seam and to get a crisp finish used my clapper for all seams.
I don’t know about you but I always hold my breath when it comes to doing buttonholes. Why is it that sometimes the buttonhole foot works perfectly but then the next buttonhole, for no reason whatsoever, the silly machine decides it’s not playing ball anymore! Anyway any disaster was averted on this as it worked perfectly first time (breathes a sigh of relief!!).
I always use fray stop to help prevent fraying and have to say it does make a difference. I do really need to invest in a buttonhole chisel though now I’m being brave and tackling buttonholes as I still use the unpicker and a pair of scissors to open the buttonholes. This is really playing with fire and I have been caught out previously and ended up with a split right through the end of the buttonhole.
As always when marking out my buttons and buttonholes I’ve used the Simflex expanding gauge. I love a good gadget and this one certainly gets plenty of use! I didn’t use the recommended amount of buttons on this make as I don’t particularly like things to be too fastened up at the neck, particularly in nightwear, so I decided to go “off piste” and do my own spacing. I ended up with 4 buttons leaving a nice gap at the top and bottom. I made a little bow from the bias binding to pop onto the centre of the shorts just in case the waistband was ever on view.
Overall I am really pleased with how these turned out and the fabric is just perfect for them. It sews and washes beautifully and what more could you ask for. I used a standard 70 needle and didn’t get any pulls or ladders.
Hope you enjoyed reading this and thanks for having me again!
Bye for now