View all the latest fabrics to arrive at Minerva Crafts... Click here »

Need help? Contact us on 01254 708068 from 9am til 5pm Monday to Friday

POSTS PER PAGE: 3 | 6 | 9 | 12


Question and Answer with Kathryn of Yes I Like That

Meet Kathryn from Yes I Like That...

When did you start sewing and what inspired you to start?

I started sewing as an adult about 7 years ago. I was taking a fabric screen-printing class, and I wanted to make something with all the designs I was printing. Before that I was strictly a knitter.

What was your first sewing project?

It was very simple bag based on the ‘Jordy Bag’ tutorial from Craftster. A legendary tutorial from THE big internet sewing hub back in the day. I learnt a lot from that forum!

I did actually sew a bit back when I was a teenager too, I remember making a brown polyester pinafore dress which I was very proud of, and a 60s style dress out of curtain fabric that was so stiff it could stand up on its own. But my Mum helped so much with these projects that I’m not sure if they count as my own work…

What do you love most about sewing?

 Seeing badly made, over-priced clothes in the shop and thinking ‘I could make that’ (although I rarely get round to it, but that’s another story)

What made you decide to start blog about your sewing?

 When I started sewing there were hundreds of knitting and quilting blogs, but hardly anyone was writing about sewing. I remember googling for a Peter Pan collar tutorial and getting one measly result (try doing that now!). Then all of a sudden around 2007, the dressmaking community online exploded, with loads of new blogs springing up. I crammed my Google Reader full of every blog I could find, and learnt so much about sewing and new patterns and new techniques. Eventually I thought I might as well join in.

How are you liking being part of the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network?

It’s completely brilliant! When the parcel with my projects arrives it feels just like Christmas. Thank you Minerva!

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

Wonder Tape, which is double sided fabric tape that dissolves in water. I can’t sew without it. It’s the lazy woman’s answer to basting.A sewing gauge, I only got it last year and I’m not sure how I managed before.My overlocker, which is a Brother 1034D. It makes seam finishing and knits so ridiculously easy. God I love it.

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with and why?

 I love sewing with rayon and drapey crepes, because the result always looks so professional and RTW. I do like cotton for tops, but it creases so much on skirts that it drives me mad. I’m also a big fan of sturdy knit fabrics, like ponte and double-knits. They are so forgiving for fitting, but still have lots of structure.

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

I have a Pinterest board ( where I pin clothing with interesting details and colours, it’s a brilliant reference tool. I get lots of inspiration from sewing blogs too. I love the style of Four Square Walls ( Handmade by Carolyn ( Crab & Bee ( What Katie Sews (, Charity Shop Chic (, and lots of others. I also spend hours browsing Net-a-Porter and to see what kind of details RTW garments have.

It’s easy to sew something that you would never actually wear, and I’ve made my fair share of these garments. So I’m trying to think about my style in a more considered way this year.

Are there any other crafts that you enjoy doing other than Sewing?

I still enjoy knitting although I am extremely slow. It has one key advantage over sewing in that you can knit while watching TV. I took a foundation course in textile art a few years ago but hardly ever do any drawing or arty stuff now, I’d love to get back into it.

Are there any other crafts you would love to learn?

One day I will learn to quilt, if only to start using up the mountain of scraps I have accumulated. However, I suspect quilting would actually mean acquiring many MORE fabrics for my stash, so I’m putting it off for now.

As you have inspired many others in the past to start sewing through your blog and Social Networking sites, what would you say to other potential sewers who may want to give it a try?

I really, really hope I have inspired people. I’d say to any new stitchers that sewing isn’t easy, but it is massively rewarding. Also, the things you make will never match up to the vision in your head, but that’s okay. It’s all about trying to close the gap a bit.

I have a post about sewing inspiration here -

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

Lazy, experimental, irregular!

Here are just some of Kathryn's makes and see all Kathryn's posts from the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network;


The Joni Dress in Viscose Jersey

This is my third blog post for Minerva, and I was really happy to try this lovely drapey mint green, medium weight Jersey Fabric. I decided straight away what I would make, the Joni dress from the Tilly and the Buttons Stretch book. 

I have made this dress twice before so was confident to make it again. Interestingly each dress has turned out really different and this one is probably the nicest as it is so nice to wear! 

The fabric is very comfortable and soft to touch.

The fabric is a light weight jersey, and is a lovely mint green and brown colour with a nice retro style pattern. I always like a retro pattern!! The fabric is really stylish as well as comfortable, I can highly recommend it and reasonably priced. I washed the fabric and didn’t notice any shrinkage and it dried very quickly and only creases a little bit, but they drop out when worn. As the fabric is jersey it is slippery to cut but not too difficult. I cut with scissors, just use plenty of pins as the bodice needs to be cut accurately. It doesn’t fray at all but I did sew completely using my over locker, which saved a lot of time. A dress with nice finished seams always looks professional. I finished the hem with a double needle, which worked really well and gave a nice professional finish.

The skirt of the dress is cut on the bias so creates a nice floaty shape and this fabric helps this a lot. For this pattern you need three metres in total and this is mainly for the skirt and for me I wanted it a bit longer, I am 5ft 10inches. You might be able to get away with 2.5 metres if you want a shorter version. The only tricky bit about this pattern is putting in the Clear Elastic but if you take it slow and don’t use pins it is fine, just hold the elastic on the fabric and guide it through your sewing machine. You have to use the sewing machine for this and a zig zag stitch is best. The good thing about the clear elastic is nice as it doesn’t show on the inside. The twist at the front of the dress is very flattering and quite easy to do. 

The instructions are very easy to follow and look much more complicated than it actually is. The sleeves have been drafted from a different pattern but as the fabric is jersey it was really easy to ease them into the dress.

The Sewing Pattern used for the sleeves was View C. If I was to say what the very most difficult part of sewing this dress was, is the neckband, you need to space out the band and stretch until it fits. It looks really nice when finished and worth it. The dress took me 3 hours to make and that includes cutting the fabric.

I have worn this dress a lot as it is easy to wear and looks effortlessly nice. I have had a lot of complements. 

Happy sewing everyone, make the Joni dress in this amazing fabric!

Fabric Final Verdict (out of 10) 

Fabric usability: 9

Pattern applicability: 9

Value for Money: 10 

Vintage-ness: 9 (with a modern twist)

Tracey @tracey_sews


Interview with Crafty Magazine

Hi everyone,

This week we were contacted by the lovely people behind Crafty magazine to do a mother-daughter interview. They were interested in mum-daughter teams working in the craft industry (turns out there's quite a few of us). We thought you might like to read our interview...

- What led you to set up your business?

(Vicki) The company was founded by my mum Annette with the support of my dad Phil. My mum has always been a fanatical knitter, dressmaker and embroiderer which is what inspired Minerva Crafts. I have lots of memories of my mum sewing and knitting when I was a young child and I was always encouraged to join in and make things.

- How long has it been running?

(Annette) We opened in 1998 - so we have worked together for almost 16 years now! There have been a lot of changes in that time. We started off as a traditional needlework shop in Lancashire and over the years we have expanded into so many more ranges including 1000's of fabrics, sewing patterns, haberdashery, knitting yarns, crochet supplies, card making, and so much more that we need a 24,000 sq ft warehouse and shop to fit it all in!

- How did you two come to work together?

(Vicki) It started when I was young. My mum would be working in the shop on Saturdays and my dad always took my younger brother to football, so my Grandma used to babysit for me. One week she couldn't, so my mum took me with her to work. From that day on I was hooked and went to 'help' out at the shop every week without fail. As young as I was at 8 years old, I remember priding myself on being able to help customers. I loved everything about the shop. I worked every Saturday and summer holidays and then when I started going to secondary school I even went down on the bus every night to help out.

- What's it like working with Vicki?

(Annette) Vicki absolutely loves her job and it shows. She is probably the most enthusiastic, driven, dedicated person you could meet...definitely a workaholic. She pushes the business forward with so many exciting ideas and new initiatives and it is a pleasure to work alongside her - most of the time anyway!

- And what's it like working with Annette?

(Vicki) I count myself as one of the luckiest people in the world. I have a job that I love and I get to work alongside my family every day. Some people would hate this, but I love it. I have always been really close to my mum and we have a really great working relationship. I wouldn't change working with her for the world.

- Is it hard leaving the business behind when you go home?

(Vicki) It really is. When you have so many ideas buzzing around in your head it is almost impossible to go home and not continue working. My mum is better at this than me and does manage to shut off every now and then. I will get there one day. I'm lucky enough to consider my job as my hobby so much of the time it doesn't really feel like 'work' anyway!

- Who's responsible for what at work?

My mum takes care of the Minerva Craft Centre store and is our resident craft blogger! I look after the online side of things. It  works out well as I'm more technically minded than my mum is, and she is great in helping customers face to face and giving knitting and sewing advice.

- Who's the bossy one?

(Vicki) Its me! I know it is! I like to think of it that I'm the one that's gets things done and makes things happen - my mum would just tell you I'm bossy! Its quite funny you ask this - for my birthday earlier this year a friend of mine made me a sign to put up in the office at work which says 'I'm not Bossy, I just have better Ideas'. It really made me laugh - its not just my mum that thinks I'm bossy :)

- What's the secret behind working with your mother/daughter?

(Vicki) Its quite hard to say really. Because I have always worked with my mum I suppose I don't really know anything else. I think if you both have the same drive, motivation and the same principles, then you will succeed.

- Do you ever feel you need a bit of space, working in such close proximity to one another?

(Annette) Not really. You do get some days where we can be a bit stressed and wish the days were elastic so you could fit in everything you need to do, but its not often I feel I need space from working together.

- How do you separate work and home life?

(Vicki) Not very well! Our hobbies are sewing, knitting and a lot of other crafts, so even when we have some down time, in effect we are still working as we share all our personal projects on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network on our website.

- Has working together changed your relationships with one another? Has it made you closer?

(Annette) I would say it has made us closer. We spend so much time together that if we didn't get on really well then it wouldn't work.

- What advice do you have for other mother-daughter business teams?

(Vicki) You have to both love what you do and be equally committed and focused. Even though you work together, you don't have to be in each others pockets every single day. Share the tasks between you that need to be done so each person has their part to play.

- What crafts do each of you do?

(Annette) I have enjoyed knitting and dressmaking for over 40 years and these are the two crafts I always come back to. I do enjoy a spot of crochet and cross stitch and have recently got into needle felting!

(Vicki) When I was younger I was lucky enough to do a BTEC in textiles at college, a degree in embroidery at Manchester Metropolitan university and then a masters degree in Design, so I have been lucky enough to be able to try so many different crafts and really push the boundaries with what you can do with different techniques and processes. Nowadays I still love hand and machine embroidery, but I also love Knitting and Sewing. My mum is such a good knitter and dressmaker so she is always on hand to help me develop my skills and learn new things!

- Whose idea was it to do the workshops? Who do you get involved to run them?

(Annette) It was a joint decision really. The Minerva Craft Centre is such a huge space (approx 5,000 sq ft) that it would have been a shame not to introduce a workshop program and craft groups. We have had a great response to them over the last couple of years, so much so that we now run 3 Minerva Craft Group meet ups every week! We run two crochet workshops alternatively every week and these are run by two fantastic ladies - if you don’t catch the crochet bug off these two I don’t think you ever will!

- What's your Mother's day message to your mum?

(Vicki) The best way to show you care is always with something handmade. I know my mum always really appreciates anything I have ever made for her. I will have to think of something special for Mothers Day.

- What's next for Minerva Crafts?

(Vicki) We are always working to improve our service, grow our product range with new and exciting lines and develop our website, and this will continue in 2014. Last year we launched the Minerva Craft Club and it has been an exciting development for us which rewards our regular customers old and new with great savings, a free membership to our Swatch Club and a VIP invitation to the Minerva Craft Club Christmas Party in December and Minerva Crafts Meet Up in June. We have had such an amazing response so far and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has signed up.

Bye for now,


Question and Answer with Rachel of House of Pinheiro

Meet Rachel from House of Pinheiro...

When did you start sewing and what inspired you to start?

I’m a creative and energetic person by nature. Sewing is an outlet that found its way into my life by chance. I always loved it but the feeling wasn't nurtured as creative arts as sewing isn’t very valued in Brazil. People mostly sew by necessity to obtain or reinforce their main income. It seems to be changing slowly and I really hope one day we can have a strong community like we have in the UK and USA.

What was your first sewing project?

 My 1st taster was an evening adult class in Sept 2009 . I made a denim skirt { simplicity Cynthia Rowley 2512} and never looked back. Christmas that year My fellow bought me a sewing machine and I been stashing fabric and notions even since.

What do you love most about sewing?

Besides escapism from the mundane, the opportunity to use my hands and get an outcome from my hard work. It feels go to go though the creative process of picking your materials and adapting the design to suit your personality and lifestyle. I love the social aspect of it and how many fiends I have made thought my sewing journey.

To thank the sewing community during Christmas I will release a free sewing pattern, the Brasilia Dress.

What made you decide to start blog about your sewing?

 I used to connect with others via forums and having a blog was a natural progression.

How are you liking being part of the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network?

 I’m trilled because I have connected with the people behind the business. It was lovely to meet in person a darling family, eager partner with its customers to help and encourage more people to take part. Being behind the scenes made me see all the hard work. Thanks for having me!

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

 A good (that mean sharp) pair or scissors and rotary cutter

Tracing wheel & wax paper

My pincushions, I have grown quite a collection.

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why?

Cotton sateen ,viscose and wool. Easy to work with and I love the range of colours and textures available.

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

 When I start a sewing project I have only a vague idea of what I want and during the process that I develop ideas and make changes. I would say my closet is my main inspiration. Things I need and would like to replicate as starting points.

Are there any other crafts that you enjoy doing other than Sewing?

 Oh, Baking. Yumm Yummm...

Are there any other crafts you would love to learn?

 Im a very slow and beginner knitter. I wish I was better.

As you have inspired many others in the past to start sewing through your blog and Social Networking sites, what would you say to other potential sewers who may want to give it a try?

 Be yourself, don’t follow trends. Sew what makes your heart beat faster.

Don't be scared of mistakes. Its an integral part of learning and the seam ripper is your best friend. I have spent many nights undoing things but learned a great deal.

Join the conversation by commenting on things you love. Show your support to others and they will do the same with you.

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

Experimental,social and fun.

Here are just some of Rachel's makes and see all Rachel's posts from the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network;

1 Comment

How to make reversible Christmas table decor

Hi Minerva Makers
Have you ever wanted to make your own table décor for the Christmas season? I don’t know about you, but here in Barbados all things Christmas are overpriced! I thought I’d try my hand at making reversible décor this year. I’m talking placemats, chair backs, napkins and cutlery holders! This year I can use them on one side, and next year switch them around. Nothing beats a two for one right?
My home décor theme this Christmas is Winter Wonderland. I live on an extremely hot and sunny island in the Caribbean and since there will definitely be no snow outside, I decided to create the look on the inside. So my colour scheme is white and metallics with just a few red accents. I paired the most adorable cotton fabric with gold reindeer and silver Christmas trees with another cotton fabric featuring a gorgeous silver snowflake print.
Now on to the good stuff! I am going to share with you all the instructions to make these pieces yourself. For reference, I received 1.5 metres of each fabric and I made 2 placemats, 2 napkins, 2 cutlery holders and 4 chair backs. Our dining table is really small and though it is a 4 seater, I set it for just my husband and me with the exception of the 2 extra chair backs.
How to make reversible placemats
1. Cut 2 fabric pieces 12.5” x 18.5” and 1 piece of felt or batting a scant 12” x 18”.
2. Place fabric pieces right sides together.
3. Stitch all around at ¼” seam allowance leaving a gap to turn.
4. Clip corners, turn right side out and press. Insert felt between layers.
5. Topstitch the placemat making sure to catch seam allowance at opening. I did two rows of stitching.
How to make Santa hat chair backs
1. Draw out the shape according to your chair back measurements adding seam allowance to sides and bottom. My chairs have a trapezoid shape.
Here are my measurements:
Top 13” + ½” seam allowance (¼”each side) = 13.5”
Length 10.25” + ½” seam allowance (¼” each side) = 15.25”
Bottom 14.75” + ¼” seam allowance = 10.5”
2. For the flap, extend a line from the center of the top of your chair back shape upward 6.5” and connect that line to the edges of the top of the shape forming a triangle.
3. Use this pattern to cut two outer fabric pieces and two lining pieces.
4. Place two outer fabrics right sides together in between your two lining pieces. So your sandwich should look like lining, outer, outer, lining.
5. Stitch ¼” all around leaving bottom open then clip corners.
6. Cut two pieces of fur whatever length you prefer and matching the width of the bottom of your sewn shape adding seam allowance. Stitch together at sides so you now have a loop of fur. I made mine 3.5” long.
7. Slip fur piece into chair back shape right sides together and stitch all around using ¼” seam allowance.
8. Turn chair back right side out and hand stitch a pom pom ball to the tip of the triangle. 
How to make Christmas tree napkins
1. Cut two 8” diameter semi circles.
2. Place pieces right sides together and stitch ¼” all around leaving a gap to turn.
3. Clip corners. Turn right sides out and press then topstitch all around.
4. To fold into Christmas tree shape: Place napkin with flat piece at top. Fold the right side over about 2 inches from the edge of the left side. Then fold this same piece back onto itself so the edge lines up straight with the right side. Then fold the left side under itself so the edge lines up with the right side. Press into place.
How to make stocking cutlery holders
1. Print a stocking template.
2. Cut the template into 2 pieces: the bottom for your main fabric and the top for your fur.
3. Use the template to cut 2 main fabric pieces and 2 fur pieces.
4. Place wrong side of fur on to right side of main fabric and stitch across the top with ¼”seam allowance.
5. Flip the fur up.
6. Place your 2 joint fur and outer pieces right sides together and stitch ¼” all around leaving top open.
7. Turn right sides out and press.
8. Fold your fur down over itself just covering the seam line.
I am so happy with how my table decor turned out. I love how everything coordinates and how the two fabrics complement each other. The fur details help to bring my winter wonderland theme to life. I used a gold sequin tablecloth and a fur runner and it all goes together so well. There is no way I would be able to create this look with store bought items. I have a completely unique set that costs a fraction of the price of Christmas décor in the shops. Perks of sewing!

POSTS PER PAGE: 3 | 6 | 9 | 12