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Slashed Jersey Seamwork Wembley by

When I was given the opportunity to review this slashed animal Jersey Fabric at first I wasn’t sure if it was my style. But looking at it at bit further on the Minerva website I decided to jump out of my comfort zone.

I thought the fabric would be perfect for a jumper and online it looked quite a thick fabric.

When the fabric arrived I was quite surprised to find it was different to how I’d perceived it on the site. The fabric is thick (and warm!) but also has a lot more transparent gaps than I imagined.

The fabric consists of two layers fixed to each other. One is a netting which makes the transparent circles, the other is the base layer of the fabric. I don’t think I’ve seen a fabric quite like it!

Due to the double layers I found it quite problematic to work with. When cutting the fabric it was hard to cut a straight edge with a rotary cutter as it was very slippy on the wrong side of the fabric. Also my Janome sewing machine definitely liked the fabric a little too much! It would easily get caught in the machine, and I had to develop a technique to make sure it wasn’t damaged at the beginning of every session. Because of this and the Jersey elements of the fabric, I would definitely recommend only using a walking foot on your machine.

I also had to change my plans for my jumper. Due to the transparent sections of the fabric making a jumper without any lining would be a bit indecent! So I decided to make the Seamwork Wembley instead. It had been a pattern I’d been wanting to make for a while so this was a good opportunity.

It turned out this was exactly the right pattern for the fabric. After mastering feeding the fabric into my machine and the pattern and fabric was very easy to work with. The stretch and feel of the fabric was perfect for a cardigan and if you had an overlocker I imagine you could finish the whole garment beautifully. 

As you can see the stretch in the fabric was great for the cuffs too!

I’m very happy with my cardigan and I think stepping out of my comfort zone is something I will do more of in the future. I managed to get a polished finish on the cuffs and facings and it’s a perfect item to glitz up a t-shirt and jeans!

Thanks for reading,

Ruth @ A-Hem

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Crochet & Knit Cardigan by Maria

Hi everyone! I'm Maria, a hobby sewist, crocheter and cross-stitcher :) You can read more about my work and other adventures on my blog, my BurdaStyle project page and my Instagram account.

I got the chance to test Sirdar Snuggly Tiny Tots Knitting Yarn in shade 932 named Snug which is a baby blue with white decorative thread with some “pop-corns” running along it giving it also some texture.

My first impressions when I opened my parcel were:

-              Oh! What a cute color! The color in real life is a bit brighter baby blue than what I thought it’d be looking at the webpage. Very subtle difference but it looks even better in real life.

-              Oh…I thought it’d be softer…The label says baby fashion, in my head this translates to soft, maybe based on baby wool vs. wool…I don’t know. But it wasn’t as soft as I expected based on other acrylic yarns I’ve touched in my life. I thought it might just be due to the white thread on top, so I cut a piece and removed that thread from it, but no, the acrylic itself is like that. I’m not saying it’s rough, just not “baby” soft. It’s kinda half way between towel and velvet.

The above brings us also to the next point: The white trim thread is simply wound around the main blue one, which means that if you stretch the yarn a bit tight or something, you might get uneven distributions of the white trim and hangings in some places. In some cases, it’s how it’s wound and it’s not even your fault :) Also because it’s loose, it can slip off the hook when you crochet and you get a similar effect of loose bits here and there so pay attention!

The next thing I did was to knit a sample. I used the recommended 4mm pins and knitted a rectangle of 22 stitches by 14 rows which was supposed to be 10cm wide, 5 cm high (label says 28sts x 28 rows is a 10x10cm square).

Didn’t match exactly what’s on the paper, but I’m a beginner when it comes to knitting so it’s expected.

My project using this yarn will be mostly crocheted, so I did a small sample in single crochet just to get the feel for how it’ll look. This was also using a 4mm hook, 22 stitches but I did only 3 or 4 rows. (And now you can clearly see what I do most...Hint: it’s not knitting :))

What I was a bit worried about is how it behaved if I had to undo/unravel some. The answer to this question is: Surprisingly well! The little white bulges don’t get stuck and are easy to get through stitches again, but the more you unravel the same bit, the higher chance you have of the white trim sliding about and sometimes even hanging off the blue yarn.

I decided to make this cardigan I found on Verena.ru which is mostly crocheted apart from the elastic around the cuffs and front opening/neckline which is knitted.

Working with this yarn wasn’t difficult as such, a bit of extra care was needed around the bulgy white bits as expected, but nothing dramatic and it looked good.

I did however keep getting the issue of that same white decorative thread sagging a bit here and there. Doesn’t show unless you look closely and probably not a bad thing since it’s not stretchy while the acrylic blue yarn is so the one compensates for the other, but still a tiny bit irritating. You can see a bit of that in the photo above if you look closely and a close-up on the next.

I absolutely love how it turned out looks-wise and I still think this colour is super cute, so this cardigan will indeed see a lot of wear throughout the Norwegian summer (after I've redone the front opening elastic to make it a bit longer so it doesn't curve up...).

All in all, the plusses are more than the minuses: The color is great, it’s easy to work with, it’s fluffy, seems to be warm enough and looks good crocheted and knitted but it’s not so soft, not of a natural fiber and the white trim hangs a bit here and there.

I like it but don’t love it and I’d chose a natural fiber yarn (wool or cotton) over this anytime.

Here’s the finished product :)

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Woven Fabric Bundle Review by Sarah

There is nothing better than a little bit of anticipation and excitement and I have to admit that’s how I felt waiting for my mystery Woven Fabric bundle to arrive from Minerva Fabrics. I have to admit, however that when I received my package and immediately ripped it open the fabrics weren’t quite what I was expecting. I mean I don’t really know what I was expecting to be honest but it’s safe to say that a mystery package is not going to satisfy all of your wildest fabric desires on every level, but this is where I found it an interesting challenge, to take what I was given and make something fantastic and usable from it.

The first fabric I pulled out was a patterned corduroy fabric covered in stylised flowers that was reminiscent of paisley designs and a beautiful flowery fabric in hues of rust and oranges. I have no idea what type of fabric this is, nor its composition, but it didn't feel like typical dressmaking fabric. It is a sturdy, thick woven fabric and with my limited knowledge I am assuming it's a heavy cotton with something synthetic in it.

I have to admit to being a little bamboozled by what to make with these fabrics as neither were immediately popping out at me. Deciding to concentrate on my favourite of the two fabrics, the bold orangey, flowery fabric, I took some time brainstorming what to make. In the end I decided it would make a perfect statement clutch bag, settling on an accessory in part because I didn't know what the orangey fabric was made of and I didn't think it would be a comfortable dressmaking fabric. It turns out it's the perfect purpose for this beautiful pattern, to show it off and to get the most use out of it.

I searched high and low for the best clutch bag pattern. Having not made a bag before I wanted a base pattern to work from. I eventually settled on a free pattern from Grainline patterns and freelovefest. It was originally made for leather but as I didn't want to glue my fabric together I adapted it by adding a lining and at the same time stash busting my supplies! Here's what I did to make this super simple bag.

1 - Download pattern here, print, stick it together and cut it out. 2 - Cut out the pattern in an outer fabric and in a plain black cotton. You could also use a proper lining fabric for the interior.

3 - To make the fabric sturdier and to stop the handbag flopping about when finished you need to stabilise the fabric on both the lining and outer fabrics to make it stronger. Don't skip this unless the fabric is thick enough already. Cut out two pattern pieces in fusible interfacing. I used hair canvas as it's the only heavy weight one I had to hand and it worked perfectly. Fuse one piece to lining and outer fabric.

4 - If you want to add a label to your bag do it now just below the top fold on the lining fabric.

5 – You need a closure on your clutch to secure your bag when finished. I chose a tie closure from a piece of leather but you could also use ribbon, it just needs to be long enough to wrap around your bag a couple of times and tie in a bow.

Sew a small buttonhole big on to the lining big enough to fit your choice of tie through. Use the marker for the clasp on the lower flap for the buttonhole. 6 - Secure your ribbon or leather thread with several neat stitches on the wrong side of the outer fabric at the marker for the clasp on the bottom flap. 7 - Sew the lining and outer fabric together, right sides together. I used a small 3/8 allowance here. Remember to leave a hole big enough to pull the fabric out the right way again.

8 - When the fabric is the right way out iron flat. At this point I also cut out some wadding to put into the bag to make it squishy. I notice a lot of patterns asked for this and it just adds more volume and sturdiness to the fabric. You may feel it's not needed. I didn't have the normal stuff to hand so used thinsulate which when added to coats helps keep you warm in winter. It's still pretty thin so was just about OK! I cut it out in the pattern piece and then cut off the seam allowance and a teeny bit more to make sure it wouldn't buckle inside. I then fed it in through the hole and moved it around until I was happy with the position. 9 - Make a button hole through the front flap. This is where your ribbon or leather thread will go through to tie the bag when in use. I moved my button hole up very slightly from where it was marked on the pattern to take into account the seam allowance I had taken away from the pattern piece.

10 - Sew up the open section by hand and then pin the envelope together. You will now see the shape of the final bag. Hand sew the bag together and viola! A lovely new bag! Enjoy!

The best bit about this experience is that it really made me think outside the box and it pushed me to be a bit more creative. I love what I have made and the fact it's something slightly different from my normal makes. When I first looked at the fabrics, I can't lie, I wasn't sure I would have bought either of them but I love them both now. I now plan to wait to winter and sew up a Moss mini skirt from Grainline patterns in the corduroy so they will both be used.

So in essence I would highly recommend buying a mystery Fabric Bag because it really pushed me to think about how a fabric can work best and what it’s perfect purpose is, something I should probably adopt more with my own fabric stash!! I will definitely order one of these mystery bags again and as you can get them in so many different variations, including wovens, jerseys, abstracts, floral and all sorts of colours, as well as being sold at bargain prices you can’t really go wrong.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah @ Sewing-Beautifully

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A Needlecord Pinafore Dress with Joanne from 60 Degrees of Inspiration

Hello everyone,

Im Joanne from 60 Degrees of Inspiration and this is my first review for Minerva Crafts, I was very excited about receiving lovely #fabricpost and using it to make something just for me.

I requested the brown colourway in this leaf print stretch Needlecord Fabric. The fabric also comes in burnt orange, green and olive green. It is an absolute bargain at £1.99 per mt.

When the fabric arrived it had a larger print than I expected (I am awful at visualising sizes). This resulted in it being bolder and less busy than it could have been. It is a lovely soft cord with a good amount of stretch. My initial plan had been to make the staple shift dress with large pockets, however when sorting through my patterns I found the Freja dress which was perfect for this weight of fabric.

The Autumnal hues of the fabric are warm and rich and I loved the rusty red. The lines on top of the fabric look like they have been embroidered despite being printed and add an extra depth and texture.

It washes really well and didn't appear to shrink much on the pre-wash. I washed it on a 40 degree wash and left it to dry. I was very easy to iron which was great. I would obviously still advise doing a prewash just to be on the safe side. 

There was something about the fabric that made me want to make something practical and with pockets. There are a lot of pinafore/dungaree dresses about but I wanted something that was not too bulky on the waist and had no gather - both the pattern and the fabric allowed quite a smooth finish even on the waistband. This is in part due to it being the right weight to hang well without being too thick.

I decided to line the pockets with a little bit of leftover burgundy cord as I liked the contrast.

The fabric was really nice to work with and any concerns I had over the stretch were soon dispelled. Because of the stretch and the cord texture it was important to consider the direction of the fabric when laying out pattern pieces.

I used a contrast thread for the top stitching and it seemed to work really well, I also used some burgundy bias binding to hem it which tied in with the pockets. I have to confess this was my first button hole - I had avoided them and used buttons for decoration for a while so I was ready for the challenge. It was actually very straight forward and I covered my own buttons using another scrap of burgundy cord.

The dress went really well with my boots but could equally have been worn with a pair of dolly shoes. On my first outing I got some lovely comments about the colour of the fabric. It would be a good dress to wear in the Autumn / Winter with a jumper underneath it as the cord would allow it to hold its shape on top. 

It would be a perfect fabric to make a long panelled skirt or even a mini skirt with. I have some left over which I might make into a tote bag and embellish with a large flower.

Joanne Riley @ 60 Degrees of Inspiration

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Product Review: The Vilene Multi Bag Kit by Michele

Hi everyone,

I'm Michele and I am here on the Minerva Crafts blog today to review the Vilene Multi Bag do it yourself Sewing Kit.

If you are a quilter or a sewer that travels with all your sewing goodies, then this little bag may just be for you.

I wasn’t quite sure what it was when it arrived – apart from a cute bag! Only when I opened it and read through the contents and instructions did it become clearer that this wasn’t just a bag, but morphed into a little ironing mat as well – how exciting!

The contents of the kit include all the iron on pieces you need to complete the project. You will need to supply the fabric, ribbon and a couple of buttons if you use the button closure method.

From reading the packaging I had no idea what 272 Thermolam, Decovil I or Bondaweb T10 was, but as I read the instructions this too became clear.

Here we have the ‘bones’ of the bag/ironing mat…..

First you iron the board-like Viseline product onto the outer fabric – this gives you the shape of the bag. Add your layer of Thermolam and inner fabric.

Then using the narrow Bondaweb to iron on the binding and make the handles.

Once you have finished the binding and adding the buttons and loops – or ribbons if you prefer to tie it together in a bow – you simply stitch all round the board to allow the bag to fold neatly along the correct lines.

This project has very little sewing and should be managed comfortably by a new sewer. This is an ideal gift for the crafters in your life and can be very useful to carry bits and pieces to classes or retreats.

Mine was made in a piece of cotton for the outer I had in my stash, and a contrast cotton inner too. The ribbon and buttons were all from my sewing room so this can be a good stash busting project.

I now have my travel iron stowed away inside and when I go out, I can also throw in a few hexagon shapes, fabric and small notions to allow me to create and stitch on the go.

Mine will become part of my Handmade sewing group on a Saturday in our local coffee shop. It gives me another surface to iron on without the need for a heavy board or iron. Ideal when you consider how much other stuff we have to carry around with us.

I wasn’t sure about this project to start with, but now it is finished, it is really cute and will be very useful as a place to iron next to my sewing machine or in classes away from home.

A lovely gift for the crafty person in your life.

Thanks for reading,

Michele @ Swiss Army Wife

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Lucky Dip Fabric Bag Product Review by Simona

Hello again,

The lovely people from Minerva Crafts this time asked me to test for them one of their Lucky Dip Fabric Bags. I had a choice of which bag I could pick. After being overwhelmed with the bags on offer in the end, I chose to go for the Viscose Fabric 5mt bag, a bag of viscose and viscose blend fabric remnants in assorted colours!  

Each lucky dip bag is chosen at random containing fabric from ranges that Minerva have stocked in the past, where they only have small ends of rolls left. The description on their webiste reads...

"Each fabric piece in your pack will be at least half a metre long and your pack can contain any number of pieces in various lengths and widths to make up  the total amount of metres.  I.e. you may receive 10 half metre pieces, 1 five metre piece, or anything in-between. There are no seconds or soiled fabrics in these packs, they are all as you would buy them per metre in a shop, except because you are buying blind you save hugely on the price! Every bag may be different so you can order more than one bag and get a great assortment of fabric! They are great for dressmakers and crafters looking for good quality fabric on a budget. They are also great for people new to sewing as you  can experiment with a variety of different types of fabrics without going to the expense of buying lots of fabrics by the metre."

Once ordered, I just waited for my parcel to arrive. I was really excited as I did not know what exactly I would get, how many pieces or how long will they be. This means I could not do any pre-planning as I did with the previous fabric I tested before (here is a link to my previous review). As usual the parcel arrived really fast and in no time I put the fabric in the wash, waiting for it to dry.

My bundle consisted of two fabrics one of one 1 metre (back background with flowers) and the other one of 4 metres (olive/brown Aztec print).

Finally, I could start thinking what to make! From my 1 metre piece I decided to make the Juliet Blouse from SimpleSew Patterns. As I only had 1m of fabric, I shortened the sleeves and made the ties out of a different fabric as well using ready made bias tape to finish the neckline.

With the second piece I made a Butterick Sewing Pattern no 5889 (I made view C) and a Kimono with a tie (the pattern for this was free with one of my sewing magazine subscriptions). Again for the tunic I used ready made bias tape for the neckline facing.

With the top and the tunic I used the overlocker to finish the exposed seams (shoulder or side seams).

For the kimono, I decided to do a French seam to have a clean finish inside. Then to finish the hem on the black top I chose to turn .06 cm and then again 2.5cm. Because the fabric was moving a lot I ended up using a zigzag stitch to make sure the hem is secure.

When I made the fabric belt, after trimming the seam allowance, I found it easier to use a ruler to turn it to the right side and it prevented from rolling around. Obviously you need to use a ruler that's smaller than the width of the belt you want to turn.

Later I pressed it and stiched the opening shut.

My tips when working with viscose:

  • consider using Fabric Stiffener to temporary stabilise the fabric, so it is easier to handle

  • staystitch the necklines and/or armholes inside the seam lines to prevent them from stretching out of shape

  • take your time, do not rush, consider tacking the seams in place first before sewing them together

  • press seams as you go along

Although viscose can be a pain to work with, it is so soft against the skin that it is well worth the pain working with it. Here are the three items I made with my Lucky dip bag:

Simple Sew Juliet Top

Butterick B5889 view D

The Kimono - free with a very old issue of Sew Magazine.

Although with Lucky Dip bags it is like playing the lottery, I love them, because so many times I end up with fabrics I like, but I would have not picked them otherwise. So if you want to get yourself out of you comfort zone I think they are quite a fun way to either try new fabrics or prints you would not normally pick yourself. If they do not turn out the way you want them, you won't cry over it, as you did not spend a fortune. I also tend to use the fabrics I get in my lucky fabrics to make wearable muslins as well.

We would love to hear and see what you have been making with the fabrics you got with the Lucky Dip bags you got from Minerva Crafts. Please share your makes with us. Tag @minervacrafts on instagram and twitter and use the hashtag #LuckyDipBag.

Like always, thank you so much for taking the time to read my review and happy shopping!

Love Simona

SewingAdventuresInTheAttick

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The Red Midsummer Dress by Papercut Patterns

Hi I’m Lauren and I like making stuff – knitting, sewing – I’ll happily have a crack at pretty much any craft going, and I tend to document it all on my Instagram (@craftworksblog) or occasionally on my blog craftworksblog.com.

This summer I’ve mainly been focusing on light, easy-to-wear dresses, that I can just throw on and get on with enjoying whatever I’m up too. This year in general I’ve been trying to sew more every-day garments, and spend less time on those cocktail dresses that I sadly never really have the occasion to wear. One dress I’ve made recently and one that’s been on my ‘to-sew’ list for a while, is the Midsummer Dress Pattern by Papercut Patterns. It even featured on my 2017 Make Nine list, so I’m feeling mega organised right now.

Until recently, I didn’t realise the wealth of Indie Sewing Patterns that is actually available on the Minerva crafts website. (I feel very behind the times.) When I realised that they do indeed stock the very pattern I wanted to sew, I jumped at the chance to order it and also order a few meters of some lovely red Viscose Fabric to go with it.

The Fabric

This Woven Viscose Fabric has the most amazing drape. It feels light, airy and perfect for summer, without being too see-through. I washed it before I used it and it washed really well. Since making up the dress it’s been worn and washed many times and still looks fabulous.

I tend to stick to very neutral colours with the occasional hit of pink or blue, so red isn’t a common colour in my wardrobe, but I thought I’d step a little out of my comfort zone this time, and as the pattern has a simple silhouette, I could get away with it.

The Pattern

As with other Papercut Patterns I’ve tried, the instructions were very clear to work through; I think this pattern would be great for pretty much anyone to have a go at, even I they’ve not sewn many garments before. The only thing that needs to be kept in mind is the fact that the seam allowances are a little different to the traditional ‘big four’ patterns.

It was also a very quick pattern to put together, although the metres of bias binding do get a bit tedious after a while!

I used a regular foot and straight stitch on my sewing machine for the whole of the dress, but I also used my overlocker to neaten the seams on the inside of the dress, as the fabric is a little more fragile and I didn’t want it to fray in the wash. 

You’ll have to excuse my white overlocker thread though – I was so impatient to sew this up that I decided to just go for it instead of waiting for delivery of some red cones of thread. It kind of annoys me now because it really stands out against the red, but as it’s only the inside, I’m trying not to bother about it too much!

The Fit

The only negative thing I have to say about this make, is that it came up a lot bigger than I expected. This could just be me and my measurements, but I have found the same issue with another Papercut Pattern, and I think next time I make anything of theirs I’ll just need to make sure I size down a little. The good thing is that this issue is easily rectified, as the shoulder straps are adjustable and the wrap-style can be cinched in as tight as I need it, so it definitely hasn’t stopped me wearing the dress – I even took it along with me to my honeymoon in Florida.

All in all, I love the style of the dress - the colour and the design detail, like the shoulder straps. And I can definitely see myself wearing this for what’s left of the summer, hopefully it will be a long one!

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Ideas for Using Cork Fabric by Nicky

I hadn't heard about cork, as a fabric, until a few months ago so when I was given the chance to try some out for Minerva Crafts I jumped at the chance!

Having researched it a little I've found Cork Fabric is also called cork leather, cork skin or even vegan leather. 

This fabric is made of natural cork backed onto a fabric backing and comes in a variety of finishes. Minerva currently have six great options but for my review I chose the Natural and Dark Medium grain.

The fabric is a medium/light weight and at 60” wide I would say it's great value. The surface has the feel of a soft leather. I have found it soft and flexible enough to be easily cut and handled by a domestic sewing machine. For my makes I used a leather sewing machine needle as I was sewing though multiple layers at some points.

I wasn't sure if it would be ok to apply heat as it is a bonded fabric but found I could iron it lightly to smooth out creases and to apply interfacing I pressed from the interfacing side. Both times I used a pressing cloth & as low a heat as I could get away with and it didn't seem cause a problem.

With such a versatile fabric it was hard to know what to make so I made a few things!

Firstly a storage basket. 

With a great natural look I can see boxes like this suitable for a variety of uses. I'm always in need of something to stop my piles of patterns spilling over the floor so I made a simple box from a large rectangle of cork folded to give the shape. The cork folds and bends easily and although it is possible to use pins I find that clips hold it better when you have multiple layers. 

I lined this box with a softly interfaced fabric so it quiet a slouchy box, perfect for my needs but more structure could be given just by applying a stronger interfacing.

I found the fabric perfect for bag and purse making too. 

Used here for an around the neck phone purse it was used as the outer fabric, folded double to produce the outside pocket and also double folded to produce the strap! 

This provided a strong strap that doesn't feel too bulky. Using the leather needle my machine happily sewed through the four layers but I did take it slowly!

I'm also used the cork to add a contrast feature on a fabric purse instead of vinyl or leather. 

I feel this a great natural alternative which looks really fashionable.

As the cork fabric doesn't fray it's also great for all kinds of craft work. I think it would be great for some appliqué but in the end decided to set about cutting out some petal shapes and gluing them into place to produce a flower with a button centre. 

I love it but haven't decided if I should add to a bag as decoration or to make into a hair clip….or maybe I need to make more to do both.

I was really excited about trying this fabric & wasn’t disappointed. I'm really looking forward to purchasing some of the other colours. I'm seeing the cork with Metallic as a wallet or a big slouchy shopper!

Happy sewing!

Nicky @ Sew and Snip

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Hi everyone,

We’re happy to team up with PatternSass Cross Stitch to bring you a collection of unique cross stitch patterns, an interesting story and guest blog post from them, a fun contest so you can win a free bundle of 45+ cross stitch patterns, and a free bonus pattern for everyone, all for being a reader of the Minerva Crafts blog!

Now I will pass over to the team at PatternSass Cross Stitch to tell you more....

People often ask about our interest in needlework. I feel comfortable to say for all of us that our love for needlework is borne from the accessibility of the art and the culturally rich traditions. I mean, any person, of any age and skill level can easily reap the rewards of a tradition spanning literally hundreds of years.  

Yet, we are amazed that modern digital artists have ignored the crafting art forms. They are creating world-class artwork for markets that I would consider crowded and so they are under-appreciated.

So we set out to show digital artists how numerous and passionate stitchers and crafters really are. 

The Digital Artists

I wish we could tell you more about Irene Cvetnaya of Russia. She’s a very gifted illustrator but just had her first baby, so she hard to reach right now.

Her work is featured in many digital design markets and used in website design, t-shirts, and marketing materials throughout Russia. Irene has a wonderful series of pin up girls and another called birds in winter hats that we’ve converted to cross stitch patterns.

We'll share more about Christopher King of Bath, England. Chris owns and operates his digital design business, Wing's Art & Design, for 10+ years in the United Kingdom. His work is featured in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, Computer Arts Magazine, and Advanced Photoshop Magazine and throughout the local UK market. 

Chris is an avid reader and researcher of all things artistic...

Should you ever visit my studio, one of the things you’ll notice are all of the books. Row after row, covering everything from art history to comics, film, fashion, music and popular culture. You can bet that if I’m reading about Art Nouveau artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec or Alphonse Mucha, they’ll be some sort of themed design pack not far behind.”

Chris believes the exposure to the work of others is key and he digs deep for inspiration...

Google is great for a bit of quick reference, but should never be your only resource. Bear in mind that whatever information you find on the web is already heavily curated and second-hand, so you’ll need to dig a little deeper for that spark of originality.” 

He’ll soak up anything and everything that captures his interest, and you can definitely see authenticity and a signature design style that is uniquely Chris...

Once I have an idea in mind, I’ll immerse myself in everything I can find on that topic”. 

If he’s designing a collection of works in an 80’s theme, then he’ll dig into vintage magazines, video games, music artwork and he’s a movie buff, so plenty of 80s movies...

Over the course of a week or month, I’ll make piles of notes and sketches to distil all of this information into recurring themes and elements that act as a starting point for my own design work.”  

It’s easy to see the care and professionalism Chris dedicates to his illustration skills. Here are some of Chris’s illustrations. 

Another art style we’re exploring is Indonesian WPAP portraits. WPAP (Wedhas’ Pop Art Portrait) originates with a legendary artist from Indonesia, Wedha Abdul Rasyid. We love applying this modern technique to very iconic and historic portraits.

A Free Pattern

We are often asked what is included with a pattern. It’s just easier to give you a free pattern to review, so here is a free cross stitch pattern on us.

Our patterns contain a full-color chart indicating individual floss colors both visually and with an icon, image dimensions for different Aida fabrics so you can choose the correct size of stitching fabric, and a color photo for reference. All your supplies of Embroidery Threads and Aida Cross Stitch Fabric can be bought here at Minerva Crafts.

Please enjoy the pattern and do share you’re comments with us.

Enter To Win The Collection For Free

If you’ve downloaded the free pattern then you’re already entered. If not, you can download the free pattern and enter the contest here to win 45+ cross stitch patterns from us. We’ll end the giveaway contest in one week (the 11th of August 2017) and announce a randomly picked winner.

Here’s what you can win:

  • 7 x "Pin Up Girl" Patterns from Irene Cvetnaya

  • 10 x "Birds with Winter Hats" Patterns from Irene Cvetnaya

  • 8 x "Peaceful Protestor & Peek a Boo" Patterns from Wing's Art & Design

  • 9 x "Indonesian WPAP Portraits" including JFK, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Former President Obama, etc.

  • 15 x "Japanese Calligraphy" Patterns

You can see more details here.

Thanks for reading,

Happy Stitching!

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Panda Espadrilles with Eleanor

Hi, I’m Eleanor from nelnanandnora and I’m here to talk about the Espadrille Soles by Prym. I was offered these to test at a perfect time as I’d seen lots of lovely espadrilles in the shops and wanted make something a little different. I sew almost all my clothes so it seemed logical to try these out and extend the range of my handmade wardrobe a little further.

Originally I’d planned to use some navy blue embroidered fabric, modify the pattern and make ankle ties but then I remembered this gorgeous pand print fabric that was tucked away in my stash and it seemed perfect for a first attempt. The lining is a soft green spotty print cotton.

The pack includes a double sided printed pattern that needs to be traced or photocopied and the instructions are available for download via a QR code on the outer packaging.

A specific Yarn is available – in several colours – for stitching the uppers to the soles, but I decided to use Gütermann Topstitching Thread as it is easier to source, comes in more colours and I had seen it suggested elsewhere.

The process is fairly straightforward: cut the pattern pieces – both outer and lining – as mirror images of each other, stitch the outers and linings in pairs, then pin and blanket stitch each piece to the soles, finishing by backstitching the uppers to the backs.

Here you can see the process of creating the shoe fronts; the backs are created in the same way.

To keep the stitching even, I marked ¼” / 6mm intervals around the sole with a Water Soluble Marker and Seam Gauge. I used a large eyed hand sewing needle from my varied and largely inherited collection, as the thread is quite thick (similar to these). A Thimble is essential if you don’t want holes in your fingers, and I’d also suggest having some small Pliers on hand for pulling the needle through tricky spots, especially when sewing in the loose ends of thread (which I pushed through the sole and out at the sides).

A little easing is needed around the toe area – which is indicated on the pattern – and I found it easier to release the pins at the toe and ease the fabric gently with my fingers as I stitched. I had planned to use small tucks at either side but the fabric was too thick in this case.

I’m delighted with the results. My feet are fairly wide so the fit is snug (and secure). It wouldn’t be difficult to alter the pattern pieces for narrower or wider feet or high insteps. I’ll definitely be making some more!

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