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Erika Knight Studio Linen Yarn Review

Today I am reviewing a yarn by Erika Knight called Studio Linen. It is made from recycled fibres and creates a summer weight fabric.

I am lured by yarn on a skein, are you? But this was a pig to roll into balls. It is slinky and smooth therefore my yarn winder was hopeless because the ball didn't have any purchase and just kept slipping and unraveling. Andy spent 2 hours one evening unknotting one ball that I made a hash of. That said, knitting with it was sublime.

The pattern is free from Ravelry called The Summer Vacationt Top. You knit it with two strands held together on 7mm needles, this creates a very free flowing fabric. It is a quick knit and ideal for taking on holiday or knitting in the garden because it is simply two squares with no shaping. Great for a beginner too.

I used six skeins comfortably. Six would enable you to make the S, M or L sizes available on this pattern. The linen based yarn is so cool to wear on hot days and I love that it is made from recycled fibres - 85% viscose and 15% linen giving it a beautiful silky feel.

It is a very versatile pattern: you could change the length, width, mesh section to suit by using more or less of the lovely yarn. If I was to knit another, and I surely will, I will lengthen the stocking stitch and make a more shallow mesh section. Mine seems to have a larger section than others on ravelry. 

Thinking ahead, I am also planning to wear it well into autumn with a white shirt underneath for work. The drape means it does not stick to the cotton shirt.

Thanks for dropping by. Jo xxx

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Beautiful Blue

When given the chance to review this Challis Fabric I instantly fell for the Peacock blue but with twenty six shades to choose from I’m sure there is a colour to suit everyone’s taste!

Challis is a new fabric to me. Made from viscose and polyester it’s a light weight soft woven fabric that drapes well. I would say it’s weight is most suited for flowing dresses or blouses.

As soon as it arrived I knew it was perfect for a wrap dress, a style that seems to have taken off again this year. I opted for McCalls 7119 with its edged fitted bodice and skirt that is semi-fitted through hips.

With the various pattern options I decided to go for the shaped hem of view B but the short sleeved bodice of view c.

The fabric was prewashed and pressed ready to start.

I am a mixture of sizes and knowing that in the past McCalls patterns have fit me well across my shoulders in a size 10 I cut a 10 graded to 12 at the bust and 14 waist. The skirt was cut as a size 14.

Due to the soft woven texture of the fabric I used plenty of pins as the fabric did here a tendency to move as I cut with scissors.

There are lots of markings on the pattern to show position of gathers at neckline so it’s important to transfer them all to get the fit correct. I simply used tailors chalk as it showed well on the plain weave.

The pattern calls for fusible interfacing for the neck bands but considering the softness of the challis I decided to opt for a layer of muslin sewn in instead. I found this maintained the soft feel but gave to support needed.

Fo the edges needing gathers I machined a double row of long stitches. One on the seam allowance line with the second 5mm in.

This produced nice even gathers which do not feel at all bulky in this fabric.

As I chose the shaped hemline I opted to stitch the skirt panels together using a French seam to keep a neat look if they were seen.

The other change I made from the patterns construction details was to hem the sleeves and the skirt using my overlocker to do a rolled hem.

I was really pleased with this neat finish. The light weight of the Challis and the well matched thread seem to have worked well for this technique.

Once constructed I handstitched the band facings in place.

The pattern is rated as easy and I found it came together quickly. The fabric pressed crisply and I used a pressing cloth throughout to avoid to chance of getting any fabric shine pressing seams.

I found this Challis a lovely fabric to work with and it feels so soft and cool to wear. 

It felt perfect for a sunny day at the races…..although also being a breezy day meant a bit of holding on to the wraparound dress and hat!

Thanks for reading,

Nicki @ sewandsnip

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The Denim Jacket

It was really time I sit down and sew something cool and fashionable for my better half again - and what better garment than a dark blue denim jacket that can be dressed up or down, right?!
The super soft and slightly stretchy dark blue Denim Fabric is a great choice. While it is very soft to the hand, it still hold its shape just fine and the amount of stretch is perfect for a jacket - not too much, not too little. You get the idea ;-)
Washer, dryer, no problem  - just throw it in and it is fresh and ready to hit the sewing machine. It doesn’t fray much, so that is another plus. Especially since I was making a jacket with unfinished seams….
I chose the SAKKO pattern as I have previously made this from a sweatshirt fabric and it fits very well and comes together easy enough. There is also a women’s version - in case you’d prefer to make a female version :) 
The pattern does not need much preparation, no lining or interfacing, so you’re ready to sit down and se pretty quickly. It does generally fit quite well, I do suggest to measure the width of the shoulders and possibly make adjustments. I had to shorten them in both the women and mens version. No big deal, just be sure to check.
For the jacket, I did finish all inside seams with my overlock with a typical denim color thread - you know, that brownish tone?! It just looks really neat, so I though it was a good idea - and it was, if I do say so myself. 
The back part is made of three pattern parts that are curved, you need to be extra careful to match the markings to make sure the fit perfectly, because remember: seams are left unfinished with this sewing pattern, so no hiding a mismatch if the parts do not align perfectly at the hemline.
To attach the collar is a bit tricky. You can go with the version of the sewing pattern or go with my version and simply attach it right side on right side. I have done both, it both looks fine. As the solar is turned down, you do not see it it you attach right side on right side, but the unfinished seam look is more perfect if you follow the actual instructions and attach it “on top” of the neckline : you basically leave the bottom part open and wedge the neckline inside. It does require a bit more patience and time, obviously to pin it correctly and make sure you always sew through all layers.
I played with the idea to add a patch on the back to make it look a bit more interesting, but decided against in the end. It actually does look interesting enough on its own and the dark blue denim has a pretty rich color that works well on its own. And since I wanted it to be a piece that can be dressed up or down, no patch seemed the best and most fashionable solution…
With the sleeves, I suggest you make them just a bit longer to be sure you can roll them up. It just looks nicer - and intentional for that matter- , if there is actually enough fabric to fold or roll-up twice. 
The Stretch Denim is quite a light fabric, so to keep the sleeves from “unrolling” I fixated them with a few stitches in the seamlines. 
To finish the jacket, make sure to sew all around in one take. I also sew along the hemline, very close to the edge, just to be sure, nothing frays with time when washing. 
Trust me, the pattern instructions are in German, but this is so easy, the pictures are enough to take you through it with no problems. 
And the new SAKKO jacket is finished and my hubby really likes wearing it a lot. I think I should make him (or me?) another in that light blue denim - it looks quite nice and fresh, don’t you think?
Thanks for reading,
Nic @ crfted
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Simplicity 8342 Pedal Pushers

The Fabric I used for this review was something a little different compared to the other garments I’ve made recently, both with the design and the type of material. I love the nearly-harlequin diamond print and the bright blue of the background, and I was excited to create something with a little funk compared with the very soft feminine garments I usually find myself drawn to.
The fabric itself is lovely to handle. It’s soft and thick, and has got a one way stretch. There is a faint sheen to the finish of the fabric, which is subtle but is enough to make the multi colours of the diamonds ‘pop’. When I was deciding what to make I was imagining something figure hugging, which I thought would still feel modest because of the control, and the stretch of course would keep it feeling it comfortable.
After some critical ‘research’ on Pinterest, I decided on a pair of pedal pushers using pattern Simplicity 8342 (the pattern calls them ‘cropped trousers’ but using this material I would say they are half way between leggings and trousers).  I love the high waisted, snug fit of these trousers and was very much influenced by photos of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe in similar styles. If I could re-create just one iota of the glamour and style they ooze then I announce this a success!
Before I started sewing, I did my technical checks:
  • Changed the sewing machine needle for a stretch and thickness appropriate one (I used Klasse ‘stretch’ 90/14)
  • Did an iron patch test with my press cloth at hand as I thought the sheen may mean it needed to be a cooler iron, but it was fine for high medium heat (just below cotton on my iron)
  • Made sure my sewing machine was set to triple/stretch stitch
The pattern helpfully lets us know that there isn’t the opportunity to make any adjustments once the fabric is cut so if you’re of the mindset ‘we can change that later’ much like myself, then you might want to break your normal habits and just double check your measurements against the chart, and take into account the ease you require too. I had to make the waist a few centimetres smaller and widen the calves by 1 inch, however… I forgot to widen the cuffs to match, oops! Luckily these are the smallest pattern pieces and I had enough fabric to cut these again in the right size, so disaster averted! I think next time I make these I might put a vent into the outer edge of the cuff just as a decorative extra and just to give that much more ease of wear.
When I first cut the fabric it didn’t appear to be fraying at all but the more I handled it, it did start to shred so I would stress the importance of finishing your seams satisfactorily, especially being trousers as the inside seams are going to endure a lot of friction! I don’t have a serger but I trimmed, folded and zig zagged over the seam allowance edge to encase it, which I’ve always found works perfectly.
I really enjoyed making these trousers, they’re so fun and colourful, and have a wonderful vintage silhouette. The fabric couldn’t be more comfortable and are fitted without restricting my movement (you can even wear them out to dinner and not have to turn down pudding!).
I will definitely be making the pattern again as although the trousers are a simple design I was still really impressed with how straight forward the construction was and how quickly they came together - I promise you could make these in an afternoon. If you are someone who has been worried about making trousers or using the dreaded stretch fabric, I hope I’ve convinced you to give these a try! The fabric also comes in a black background with the same bright diamond print, which I can just imagine glammed up for a party this winter!
Happy sewing!
Rebecca
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Ponte Fun

Ponte that feels comfortable against your skin is all I want in a Ponte Fabric. Minerva has good ponte in a great range of colours.

I found Butterick Pattern 6494 was the style I wanted for this ponte.

This fabric washed well. It kept its colour and shape after a normal wash load.

When I read the instructions on the pattern, my fabric needed more stretch, so I tested out the 12 size in my stash ponte. It was a wee bit too tight so I chose to make the 14 size.

This such an easy fabric to sew. I did have some great notions to help me.

The Prym Love pins were perfect for this fabric. I also used a jersey machine needle to sew this ponte. As I said, this is a dream fabric to sew with.

Did I mention that it doesn’t fray? The beauty of this feature is you don’t need to finish the seam allowances or the hem, as you can see.

The neckline holds its own with this fabric. I like keeping my neck warm in the Winter so this style was perfect for ponte fabric.

Again, it was easy to wear this ponte because it feels comfortable against my skin.

As you can see the back is fairly good although it’s a bit snug on my lower back.

When all is said and done, I’m wearing this top most weekends during the Winter because the Ponte is a good weight. It’s firm, soft and is a colour that’s a joy to wear.

I hope you find a ponte colour that suits your needs too.

Thanks Minerva!

Maria @ cleverthinking99

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Gingham Material Me-Mades

So another Summer has been and gone and those gingham styles are still looking fabulous year after year, because after all, who doesn’t want to look like a giant table cloth? I kid. But seriously I LOVE how gingham is always bang on trend yet somewhat kitschy at the same time, I honestly can’t think of anything else that meets those two criteria. So when the Minerva review team offered me some Gingham Material I jumped at the chance, and I knew exactly what I was going to make.

I saw this pattern in a recent post by In The Folds recent blog post about how to sew up summer styles! Now, I rarely buy new patterns as I am a big fan of hacking and saving a few pounds in the process but this one I just couldn’t resist, and spoiler alert; I’m so glad I did.

Whilst completing this project I suffered a serious lack of some sew-jo, I did not want to go into my sewing room at all, this may have been due to there being some lovely sunshine and me wanting to enjoy it, or the more likely reason – I was just being lazy. But this was the perfect project to combat that, the gingham was a dream to work with, the pattern was a super easy sew and the end result was fabulous (even if I do say so myself).

Most of you don’t know this about me, but I am a craft teacher, and I am always looking for projects to get people into being creative, and honestly this combo of pattern and fabric would make such a good kit for a beginner dressmaker wanting to learn basic skills such as straight line stitching, fitting and buttonholes. 

Especially those dressmakers looking to sew very fashionable outfits for themselves on a budget! Continually I thought this fabric was a dream to work with, it was great to cut out as it barely moved at all and if you made a mistake (like a wobbly edge) you could see it straight away. It was also super easy to get the tension right on this fabric too – took my only two tries to get that perfect tension and I was so happy about it!

When making the pattern I made a few small changes which made it suit me a lot more. The first was that I used two buttons on the back instead of the recommended three, this was honestly just because I had two vintage buttons that I really wanted to use. 

The other change I made was to leave out the bottom panel of the trousers – it felt unnecessary and I didn’t want to waste fabric. One thing I would say about this pattern is that I made no alterations to the length of the bodice – and I’m only 5ft, so maybe add a little if you’re a little taller than me?

I would say that this gingham is a medium weight cotton and if it were any lighter it would be too sheer, any heavier and it would be way to structured to make cute clothing out of. Basically, it’s the perfect weight to make yourself a cute summer outfit with. So go get yourself some, and look how many pretty colours they have.

I honestly was so chuffed with this fabric and my outfit has already been through the wash four times and it’s still looking as good as it did when I first got it. I LOVE it, what else can I say?  

Thanks for reading,

Maddie @ Thimble Bee

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Nina Lee Mayfair Dress

There’s something about a navy and white polka dot that always makes me think of summer and this year I was determined to get a dotty dress into my holiday wardrobe. I also think that polka prints always look stylish and flattering, so was thrilled when I came upon this spotty slinky Stretch Jersey Fabric. This immediately said wrap dress to me, and I was torn between making the Simplicity Amazing Fit 1653 or Diane Von Furstenberg inspired Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress.

Then the fabric arrived on my doorstep and everything changed.

It really is a slinky little number! As soon as I held it up and could see the gorgeous way that it falls, I decided to rethink my pattern choices in order to find something with pleats or gathers to take advantage of this feature. I still think either of the ideas I originally had would be great too, but was completely taken with this look.

I settled on the Nina Lew Mayfair Dress, which is a recent release. It has three sleeve versions and a midi or maxi skirt length. What mainly attracted me to it was the way the fabric is draped at the front, which would be flattering and well suited to the Spotty Slinky Jersey. I went with the capped sleeves and shorter length skirt options for my summer holiday wardrobe.

The fabric behaved itself pretty well considering how slinky it is! I used a rotary cutter, which went through the fabric very easily. Whilst sewing I didn’t find that the fabric stretched or moved around, which made it quite a quick sew. I used a combination of my regular sewing machine and overlocker for construction; you could make this just as easily and quickly on a regular machine too. The only thing I would have changed was my hemming. I always rush this last part and my machine didn’t catch all of the hem first time. Unpicking didn’t look like a good idea so I hand sewed the bits that didn’t catch so well. Normally I would use Wonder Tape to secure the hem in place on a knit garment and wish I had done this time!

I didn’t need to alter the pattern at all. The nature of the jersey means it fits nicely with little modification; sometimes I have to adjust for wider biceps but the stretch in the fabric means this isn’t an issue. The pattern itself isn’t overly fitted and uses waist ties for the main shaping. I strongly recommend using a loop turner for these ties as they are quite long. Mine saved me a lot of time and effort.

Personally, I think the bodice construction is what makes this pattern so suitable for this fabric. The back of the neck and shoulders are pleated to create beautiful flowing lines, that the Spotty Slinky Stretch Jersey really takes well. The fabric is also lightweight enough to make sure that the gathering at the waist isn’t too bulky. This lightness is also what makes it an ideal dress for my summer holidays!

Thanks for reading,

Laura @ thepetitepassions

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Lucky Dip Fabric Bags Review

For this Minerva Crafts review, I was delighted to receive three x two metre Lucky Dip Bags of Fabric. These bags of fabric sell for £4.99 each and are excellent value for money.  I received a bag of blue fabric, one of green and one of black.

In the Black Fabric Bag were two pieces of fabric, one metre of 60" wide plain jersey knit fabric, and one metre of 60" wide, patterned, silky, viscose type of fabric.  It was quite a challenge to find a pattern to suit the amount of fabric, but I decided on a gypsy style top with cap sleeves for the patterned fabric, using a New Look pattern from Minerva Crafts, and a pair of leggings for the plain knit, using a Simplicity pattern, also from Minerva Crafts.  Both items were easy to make and the only other item I needed was elastic. There wasn't quite enough fabric to make full length leggings, so I just altered them to make them a bit shorter, ideal for the summer.  I was so pleased to have a new outfit, made in one day, and it would have cost me less than £5!

With the Green Fabric Pack, I received four smaller pieces of fabric. There was some dark green heavy jersey knit, a piece of cotton type pale green with a shiny side, a piece of lightweight voile type fabric in various shades of green and black, and a small piece of green patterned cotton.

 

As there wasn't enough of the dark green jersey to make anything for myself, I made a pair of leggings for my three year old granddaughter, and a matching pair for my 18" American girl doll.  This was lovely fabric and easy to sew.  I downloaded and printed a pattern from the internet for basic children's leggings, and made ther dolls leggings from an simplicity pattern for 18" doll clothes.  I don't know if this pattern is till available, but there are lots of similar doll clothes patterns on the Minerva crafts website.

With the green cotton fabric, there was enough to make my American girl doll a gathered skirt and matching headband.  I didn't use a pattern, just cut out a rectangle of fabric the length required and around two and a half times the dolls waist measurement.  I then gathered this fabric onto a waistband, and made a button and buttonhole fastening at the back.  There was a long, thin piece left, which I sewed into a tube, and made a matching headband.

The voile type fabric was a long, thin piece, which I made into an infinity scarf for myself.  I just sewed the two ends together, and then folded it in half lengthwise, and sewed it together, leaving a small gap to turn it through to the right side, and then sewed the gap up by hand.

I was unsure what to make with the pale green, cotton type fabric, but eventually decided on a shopping bag, as you can never have too many bags!  Again I didn't use a pattern.  I cut out four rectangles of fabric, two for the outside of the bag and two for the lining, then two pieces for the handles.  I then cut out two pieces of lightweight interfacing to give the bag more body.  As the fabric was plain, I drew and cut out a flower shape for decoration, using the dark green jersey fabric, and backed it with bondaweb, before sewing onto the bag using satin stitch.

There is a tutorial on my blog, cherylcrafts9 for making a shopping bag like this, and many more patterns and tutorials on the internet.

I have yet to make anything with the blue lucky bag. This consisted of one metre of navy blue lining fabric and one metre of navy blue net.  I shall probably use it to make a princess style dress!

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Sirdar 1326 Baby Jumper

Peter Pan Baby Cotton Knitting Yarn is a wonderfully soft yarn that is perfect for knitting for the littlest members of the family

Available in six soft, muted tones it is a blend of 50% Cotton and 50% polyester, which is machine washable and sold in 100g balls.

With all this in mind I choose this cute little ones jumper pattern, Sirdar 1326, to make with it. Although this pattern is designed for the Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK I found my tension matched correctly using the stated 4mm needles and this cotton DK. Needing only two balls made it an economically priced knit too!

The pattern comes in a wide size range, from birth right up to seven years, so it’s a pattern that can be used over and over. In fact all four of my grandchildren may get matching ones!

For this review I have made the 6-12 months size in the pastel blue. Being a small size it knitted up quickly in stocking stitch (knit a row, purl a row) and the simple reverse stitch design shows up clearly.

I’ve just started going to a Knit and Natter group and the wealth of experience there told me that when doing stocking stitch you should start and end the row with the opposite stitch for that row. Apparently it stops the edges rolling in. I was part way through the make when I started this but it did seam to work so will definitely remember that tip when making the next one.

Once the sections were complete I soaked them in warm water and laid it pinned out flat to dry before seaming using a mattress stitch which gives an almost invisible vertical seam on the right side.

This cotton knitting yarn has knitted up softly and flexible perfect in my opinion for garments and blankets for little people. It is well suited to doing a textured design or a motif as the definition is clear and crisp while still staying supple.

Here is my gorgeous little model showing off his new jumper. This is the 6-12 month size on a 6 month old (approx 17lb in weight). I think he’s as pleased as I am with it!

Happy knitting!  

Nicky @ Sew and Snip

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Tilly and the Buttons Coco Pattern Review

I’ve been sewing my own clothes for two years but I have to admit, stretchy fabrics scare me; not because of bad experiences, but mostly because the big sewing patterns seem to assume you have a serger, and are somehow competent in a way I, frankly, am not.

The thought of distended necklines is also worrying, as I want my clothes to last a long time, so I can enjoy wearing them without the pain of unpicking stitches fresh in my memory. However, I have a wardrobe of lovingly made pinafore dresses, so I need tops with necklines that sit nicely under them, and I figured that I couldn’t do that much worse than the sad, barely worn attempt I bought from a high street store. I decided to make a top, and if it was awful, hide it under my favourite jumper dress (Simplicity 1252, as seen in the pictures).

I chose Tilly and the Buttons’ very popular Coco Sewing Pattern for my first attempt, because as an independent pattern maker, her instructions are very much orientated around the beginner. They are in full colour and not only does she assume you are sewing on a regular machine, she even gives you important tips such as the exact stitch size it would be best to use, and if that isn’t detailed enough, there are even a series of free blog posts on her website taking you through the process step by step.

Incidentally, I also took it as a good omen that on the website the Coco dress seems to be modelled by Amber Butchard, who my small son adores after a failed attempt to bore him to sleep by forcing him to watch ‘A Stitch in Time’ (please note the history of sewing is not boring, sewing is not boring and A Stitch in Time is riveting. I had to rewatch the whole series with him.)

The pattern is printed onto good quality paper, not tissue paper, which you can cut out or trace easily, as the pattern pieces are all individual and not lying over each other, like you get in pattern books and some independent patterns. To keep things simple as possible, I chose a plain ponte de roma fabric, which is not too stretchy, so really good for beginners. There are lengthen lines for the dress pattern marked on above the waist but to be honest all my length is in my legs and I needed to add 4 inches, which means I lost a bit of the waist shaping, so it might have been better to add the length to the hem.

I sew quite slowly, generally sewing a garment gradually over 3 or 4 days, and when patterns claim you make a dress in three hours I’m perfectly aware that I’m going to spend more than three hours cutting out the pieces, unpicking things I shouldn’t have sewn and picking off little bits of cotton off everything I own. This pattern, however, is really very simple: the simplest version has four pieces, a front, a back, and two sleeves. The seams to not need to be finished as the fabric doesn’t fray, and simply turning the neckline over rather than using facing to make the neck opening is so easy it honestly felt like cheating. Also, the sleeves are set in flat, which is a very painless way to sew a sleeve.

It was so quick and simple to make, not only did I successfully make a top in record time, I used the scraps and some black roma to whip up the dress version you see here, which, even with the more ambitious funnel neck and pockets, took less than a day. The only unpicking happened because I sewed a pocket on sideways (in the instructions the pockets are sewn on after the dress is made, which made it a bit trickier, and I next time I’ll sew them in place first). I finished the hemming with a double needle because I prefer the look to a zigzag stitch.

The colours I’ve chosen in this Ponte Roma Fabric make me feel a little bit Star Trek (if you want to go full Trek, there is a contrast yoke modification tutorial on the website, too), so I will probably use this dress mostly for exploring alien planets, while rocking a sixties vibe in with my sunglasses on. In fact, the project was so successful, I ordered Tilly Walnes book, Stretch! Make Yourself Comfortable Sewing with Knit Fabrics, to continue my adventures.

Thanks for reading,

Deborah @champignons

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