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Fake It 'till you Make It - Part 2!

Hey Guys,
Yes I'm back with my first Part 2! I'm excited. When I started work on the Fake It 'till you Make It post, I completely underestimated how usable faux leather and suede were! So here's the second installment in the F.I.M.I. saga, how to work Faux Suede! Like I said in the first F.I.M.I. post, leather and suede are BIG in fashion right now and many of the suede trends blend so I'll do my best to categorize them for a quick go to guide!
 
Starting with clothing and a pretty solid staple. The Suede Jacket
Winnie (Scruffy Badger) on our Blogger Network did a wonderful replica of a jacket she had when she was a teenager and it is divine! She used KwikSew 3334 and our 60" wide Polyester Suede Dress Fabric Brown.
I really like the look of Butterick 6169 for our Black Suede, but I'm REALLY tempted by Burda 6800, I sense a lot of fun with contrasting on this one. Maybe the Stone and Cream... 
Another thing I noticed a lot of were Suede Skirts
Simple A-Line cuts, letting the fabric do the talking! The most adorned skirts I saw were button ups like New Look 6346 in Tan
If you want a slightly sexier look, Burda 6902 is right up your street with gorgeous Pencil Skirts! I love the double button look on View A!
Next on the clothing line is a suede shift dress
I could see a peep of a contrast zip on the back of one of my favourites (which I'm a huge fan of) so why not rock a Bold Metal Zip with Simplicity 1609
A surprising find for me was a boxy suede top! I didn't think this could be a thing, but it is and it's really cool!
Burda 6850 is a collection of loose fitting casual tops which I think would work with the faux suede as it isn't as heavy as you'd imagine!
Next on the fashion line up is a slouchy hobo bag 
Butterick 6011 is a great pattern for this. You can keep the straps as they are, shorten them for a high street look or swap them for handles for a true designer look.
I would absolutely LOVE to see Vogue 1311 in Suede!
Another bag I saw around the place, in suede particularly, was a type of drawstring bucket bag, not dis-similar to Burda 6961. It was often mixed with Aztec Weaving designs and so much fringing!
Which takes us swiftly into accessories and the big trend with suede; Tassels and Fringing!
 You can add them to anything for instant style and chic. Mix and match textures and fabrics with suede tassels on a calico bag for Boho vibes. Misty Spinny at Brit + Co has a great tutorial for Tassel Jewellery which can easily be tweaked to make great adornments for your accessories, or a quick and easy way to stay on trend (psst we sell Jewellery Making  supplies, too!)
Another quick and easy accessory comes from Eileen at Yes Missy who has a lovely tute for a DIY Bracelet with suede thonging woven in a cross style through the chain. Absolutely to die for! I might adapt into a headband for festival season!
For something slightly different we head over to Lil Blue Boo where Ashley has a great tutorial for DIY Suede Book Covers and Handmade Journals! How amazing would these be as gifts?!
So how did I do for my first Part 2? I thoroughly enjoyed myself as it got me right into the festival spirit! I'll be bouncing around an Island in the Danube River around the time this goes out to you lovely people! I'll hopefully have plenty of homemade Minerva fashion to share with you all on my return so stay tuned!
Be sure to share your makes, too! 
@minervafabrics on Twitter
@minervacrafts on Instagram
minervafabrics.com on Facebook
minervacrafts.com on Pinterest
Keep crafting!
Katie B xo
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Q&A with Maddie of Madalynne Sewing Blog

Hi Everyone!

Madalynne is one of the most beautiful looking sewing blogs I have ever seen! If this blog is new to you I urge you to check it out and especially visit the 'About' page which is a lovely read. I discovered this blog a little while ago and it's one that draws me back time and time again. If you appreciate beautiful photography, then you will love this blog too.

I thought it would be a lovely idea to ask Maddie the author if she would like to do a Q&A so you can all find out a little bit more about her and the blog. You can see examples of her beautiful imagery as used in this post and hop on over to her blog to find out more!

So, without further ado... 

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

Hi! My name is Maddie Flanigan and I am a sewing blogger, aspiring lingerie designer and freelance photographer. I started my blog, Madalynne, when I was 18-years-old at the suggestion of my father. In was 2006 and I was a freshman in college. In hindsight, I believe it was his way of keeping an eye on his only girl. Thank you dad! At first, Madalynne had no focus. I didn’t know what to write about so I wrote about everything – fashion, food, travel, beauty, cars, history, etc. I was a hot mess. Shortly after I started blogging, I discovered sewing, and as I got more involved and passionate about it, my blog naturally evolved into a sewing blog.

About 3 ½ years ago, I made my first pair of underwear, and it was the beginning of my love affair with lingerie. It’s been a huge learning curve, and I attribute a lot of my success to the fact that I worked in technical design for intimates for 2 ½ years. Having that foundation in sewing, patterning and producing lingerie has helped me tremendously.

Madalynne has grown organically over the past 9 years, and that’s just the way I like it. I’m really happy with what my blog offers today – tutorials on bra making, glimpses into my own sewing projects, one-day intensive bra making workshops and more.

What is your favourite craft??

Sewing

What do you love most about crafting??

The community. My best friends today are women I met through my blog.

Who do you make things for??

I sew lingerie equally for myself and others. I offer bespoke/one off lingerie and I really enjoy seeing my designs on other women.

Do you have a favourite snack when crafting??

Cereal, especially Cinnamon Toast Crunch!

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

Duck-billed scissors (to trim super close to seams), French ruler (for getting the most accurate curves), and temporary spray adhesive (for basting fabrics together).

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why??

Lace – it’s just so darn pretty!

Whats your favourite thing you have ever made? 

My favorite thing I’ve ever made is my dress to my dad’s wedding (he got remarried after my mom passed away). It was a strapless dress with a sweetheart neckline. It was made with 4-ply silk and chiffon, so you know it was a labor of love!

What is your latest WIP (Work in progress)? 

I’m currently working on a bodysuit. I love the look of bodysuits, but haven’t found a way to wear them practically. I mean, I don’t want to prance around the house in swimsuit-like attire. I’d rather wear an oversized t-shirt. But I think that if it’s the right shape, you can wear underneath dresses, pants and blouses.

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

It all depends on my mood. Sometimes, I’ll listen to music on Spotify, Pandora or Soundcloud and sometimes I’ll listen to a movie or documentary on Netflix or Amazon Prime. If I’m working on project that doesn’t require much thought, like a TNT, I’ll listen to NPR.

Do you have any advice for new bloggers??

Define what your blog is about. If you don’t have a clear purpose, you will find it harder to generate ideas and motivation for blogging. After 8 years, I’ve missed 3 post, and that’s because I have a clear focus and passion - sewing.

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

Detail-oriented, passionate, meticulous.

Thank you so much for that Maddie! I hope you feeling inspired and if anything like me, a bit awe-inspired by all these beautiful images! Please take the time to check out Maddie's blog!

Bye for now,

Vicki

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Free Child's Bolero Knitting Pattern

Hi everyone!
How about making this lovely pink glittery bolero cardiagan for that special daughter/granddaughter in your life?
My Granddaughter Jess who is now 17 would have loved this when she was a little girl. I think she'd wear it now if it was big enough! 
King Cole tinsel yarn has been around for a couple of years now and last year they brought out the now infamous hedgehog pattern. This pattern was a huge success, I knit it in brown the only difference being I used safety eyes and a safety nose instead of embroidering them on.
The next pattern that was hugely successful is the owl pattern. Anne (who works in the Minerva Craft Centre) has knit the owl in white. She has written a blog post on this because she adapted the pattern by adding some wings and also crocheting the eyes instead of knitting them as the pattern suggests. This blog will be posted shortly giving these new additional instructions or we have some printed ones to give out in the Craft Centre upon request.
And now back to the bolero! I decided to knit this for display in the Minerva Craft Centre and chose pink because to my knowledge most little girls love pink. In my mind pink and glittery...well you couldn't get a better combination! King Cole Tinsel comes in a fantastic variety of colours including a good few that are new for this Christmas. Talking of Christmas and patterns, the new Christmas patterns this year are fabulous...check them out!
I chose to do the biggest size purely because this size would fit our dummy in the shop. The pattern is FREE and you may receive one in your yarn orders if you purchase from us in the near future because King Cole have kindly given us a huge pile of them to giveaway free. Likewise we have them in the Minerva Craft Centre for you to look at too. And we have also included a copy of it here in this blog post (at the bottom) so no-one misses out.
The pattern is really easy to follow and is quite straightforward. Tinsel is a lovely yarn to knit with, it flows through your fingers. Here is what it looks like knitted up, isn't that a fantastic texture and shine...
However beware!! It is really hard to count your rows. So it is a good idea to write your rows down as you knit them. This also helps when doing the fronts because you can just cross through them as you knit them. Alternatively you could use a row counter. The size you would need is for a 6mm needle. I don't see a major problem with recommending this pattern for beginners but definitely have a pen and paper handy. 
Would you believe this pattern took me just 6 evenings to knit and I enjoyed it immensely. I finished it off by sewing a pink button that actually says SELF-MADE on it. 
This range of Dill buttons is available in two sizes and a range of lovely colours, so no matter which colour of Tinsel yarn you choose, there will be a button to go with it.
The free pattern from King Cole also features some scarves and a snood, so why not get knitting these too? The snood takes just 2 balls and the scarves just 3 balls so you can make these for less than £5 and £7 each. Bargain! And what perfect Christmas presents they would make.
Here's your free pattern;
In case that's a bit hard to read we have split it up and made the pattern larger for you below;
Well that's all for now. I hope you enjoy this free pattern and that we get to see some pictures of what you make with it. Don't be shy...share them with us!
I'll be back soon! Bye for now,
Annette xx
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Q&A with Sally from SewSweetbySally Craft Blog

Hi everyone,

A little while ago I stumbled across this sewing blog and asked Sally (the writer) if she would like to do a Q&A so you could find out a bit more about her and her blog!

Sally said yes! So here goes...

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

I'm a Creative and Energetic Person who loves cute and glitter. I've been married to my lovely husband Brian for 9 years and we have 2 terror of boys aged 7 and 3. I’m part of The Sew Simple Blog Team where we will be providing tutorials for their patterns.

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

I've previously made jewellery and cards for years and I thought I would try something new. So from late 2014 I've been having a go at sewing and I am totally hooked! My first ever project was a Polka Dot Headband and I’ve come a long way from that since then!

What is your favourite craft? 

I think out of all the crafts I have tried I think Sewing is my favourite!

What do you love most about crafting? 

I love how I can make clothes that fit me perfectly rather than buying shop bought, when the waist is too baggy or I have to take up trousers!!

Do your friends or family craft along with you?

Nope, but my eldest son is starting to hand stitch :D

Who do you make things for? 

I must admit I am a selfish sewer. I do make a lot of things for myself but I have made things for the hubby and my boys too.

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

I'm not sure. I used to blog with my Card creations so it just followed on from there.

Do you have a favourite snack when crafting? 

Cheesy Doritos! But only once I have finished handling my fabric as they are quite messy LOL!

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

Tailors Chalk

French Curve 

My Singer Stylist 9960 of course!!!

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why? 

It has to be cotton.

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

Just the one at a time or I’ll have a load of unfinished projects otherwise!

Whats your favourite thing you have ever made?

So far it has to be The Skater Dress from Sew Simple as it was a breeze to make and love the scoop neckline and three quarter sleeves with a sexy v neck to the back. The picture below shows a group family photo at a cousin's wedding in July where I made the Eliza M Betty Dress and wore it with pride  :)

What is your latest WIP (Work in progress)? 

I’ll be starting The Peter Pan Blouse from Sew Simple just waiting for my pattern and fabric to arrive!

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

I have the TV on in the background as ill be sewing away in the living room with the family, but I don’t tend to watch or I'll get distracted.

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

I get inspiration from everyday things, it could be from anywhere! I don’t want to be a copycat lol!

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

Read the instructions at least twice before you start cutting anything out or anything sewing together. There's nothing worse than getting it wrong and it puts me off from completing the project if I mess it up at the beginning.

Do you have any advice for new crafters? 

Take it slow and don’t have too high expectations of yourself. You are a newbie you will get there eventually, even if it is after many attempts. Don’t be too harsh on yourself, at the end of the day you have made it from scratch! That needs applauding!

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

Happy, Determined and Selfish LOL!

Thanks for sharing that with us Sally! To find out more and watch future projects take shape hop on over to Sally's Blog 'SewSweetbySally'.

Buy for now,

Vicki x

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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! 
@minervafabrics on Twitter
@minervacrafts on Instagram
minervafabrics.com on Facebook
minervacrafts.com on Pinterest
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!
@minervafabrics on Twitter
@minervacrafts on Instagram
minervafabrics.com on Facebook
minervacrafts.com on Pinterest
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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