Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 27th April 2016 by Annette
Hi everybody, just a quick post today. My Grand-daughter Jess has wanted me to make her this top since before Christmas would you believe. What with one thing and another, mainly 'getting into' my #FabricFridays and #Patternoftheweek posts, I am only now making it, much to her relief. (I think she wants to wear it tonight). The pattern she chose is Burda 6850
version A. She'll be wearing it with her skinny jeans size 'tiny' (lucky thing).
Here at Minerva we now have in stock a fabulous quality sweatshirt fabric
and Jess has chose the lighter of the two greys. The inside is so snuggly that she can't wait to wear it. And so, what can I say about sewing this garment, other than it is so easy. There is a seam down the back, leaving an opening at the top. This is marked on the pattern piece.
After sewing the shoulder and under arm/side seams, these will be pressed open.
I wish at this point I had an overlocker (I'm getting one soon - any advise on which one to get would be greatly appreciated!) Next I'm attaching the neck facing.
This seam is trimmed down to approx 1/4 inch which then you need to snip. I have found the perfect scissors for snipping (these are certainly not a necessity, your ordinary shears will do the job just as good as long as they are nice and sharp at the tips). These are Fiskars F9476 Comfort grip micro tip scissors
and they have really short blades and oversized handles. This combination gives you exceptional control especially when cutting or snipping through bulky fabrics. All Fiskars products for dressmaking and crafts are renowned for their functionality and cutting-edge design. For this reason fiskars scissors stand out from the rest due to the quality. These are the type of additional scissors you could get when you feel like treating yourself or you have a birthday coming up!
After turning the facing to the right side and pressing, I am quite pleased with the result.
After the neckline there is the hem at the bottom and the turn back cuff on the sleeve edge. A very deep hem is turned under on the sleeve and this is then turned back on itself to form a cuff. No separate pieces so easy peasy.
For the hem, the pattern suggests either hand sewing or machining. I have chose the latter, for speed more that anything (Jess has just popped her head round the door to see if it will be ready in time for tonight) and also I can use my duck-billed scissors to trim the hem on the inside. These are known as Applique Embroidery scissors
and the unusual shape is described as "helps to prevent accidental damage to the material or applique". Here at Minerva we have two makes - Madeira Scissors
and Klasse Scissors
. I have the latter which are a little cheaper at £14.99
It does feel much safer to trim right next to the edge
So one suited Grand-daughter. Hope you like the photo's...
And then of course some silly ones... Jess is such a poser haha!
And a final picture of us being silly together!
Thanks for reading,
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 25th April 2016 by Annette
You know when you see a pattern and for some reason you just can't get it out of your head. This has happened to me with Vogue 1492
I intend to start making some boxy tops like this one (that's when I lose this stone that isn't happening at the moment haha). The cropped pants, which to me are virtually cullotte's, I haven't worn since the early 90's when they had a bit of a comeback (either that or I was completely out of fashion!).
As I say this pattern keeps jumping out at me so I've decided to offer it to you as this weeks pattern of the week
with 50% off.
It is designed by Donna Karen of New York and although a famous designer for many years, she has designed for Vogue sewing patterns for some time now. See her collection of patterns here
, they are wonderful. As a designer Donna Karen was initially known for designing seven easy pieces that could be mixed and matched therefore making for a fully integrated wardrobe. Although she designs separates for Vogue, she also designs dresses but everything just has that little twist on what you would term conventional. With this pattern she has introduced a 'wavy' hemline on the boxy top under which there is a voile or chiffon panel. I love this layered look. Below is the line art off the pattern. Here you can see the wavy edge;
I have tried with my first group of fabrics to replicate the pattern somewhat.
The black and ivory fabric
is a gorgeous quality polyester fabric from the 'Decadence' collection. It is beautifully soft, with a lovely drape, handle and weight, simply perfect for this top and at just £9.99 is reasonably priced. Next is the chiffon fabric
. I have chosen the Japanese Chiffon because it is said to be a little easier to sew than other chiffons but because you only need a little for this garment I wouldn't worry too much which one you use as there isn't much sewing with it. Last but not least on this collection I have chosen our Satin Back Crepe Fabric
in champagne for the cullotte come cropped pants! For these I would certainly use the crepe side as the right side and although satin back crepe can be rather slippy to sew, I do think it would be worthwhile persevering for these.
Now having said that it starts getting obvious that this pattern is certainly for the more experienced sewer. When reading through the instructions the pockets are harder or should I say there's more work involved. As you can see from the line art photo there is a fly zipper closing, also belt carriers on a shaped waistband, so again this all involves more work. If you are not too experienced at sewing but fancy 'having a go' at fly fastenings etc why not choose a woven fabric such as linen. My next thought is 'do you really need the wavy edge?' Because the fabric is very 'busy' you can't actually see the waves on the front of the pattern, only on the line-art. It would be so easy just to trim this edge straight and turn under a little hem. Another thought is just have the boxy top without the chiffon underlay. Lots of possibilities!
Just a few more fabrics that would look fab with this pattern are;
This microfibre fabric
is new in this week and is quite bright and cheerful looking and at just £5.99 per mt is a cheaper alternative to my first choice. Or how about this floral print microfibre fabric
, in soft muted shades of grey, again at just £5.99 per mt.
Last but not least we now have in stock a beautiful double crepe fabric
in both plain and patterned fabrics. For those of you in our swatch club
(where you get a booklet of samples sent out to you every 3 months), I am sure some of these will be included in our next collection due out in June. When my daughter Vicki was filming our video's for these fabrics, I sneaked in and took the next photo just for a taster of this wonderful fabric. Incidentally I've noticed that Mark's and Spencer are using this fabric in their summer Per Una range!
I'll have to finish for now my sewist buddies, this sunshine is making me think of my summer wardrobe and all the wonderful, exclusive garments I can make.
Sew long for now,
Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 22nd April 2016 by Annette
What is happening with this weather? As I am starting to write this week's #FabricFriday post, we've had a cold start to the day, followed by snow and now the sun is shining and it's actually quite warm outside!! So at first I was wondering what to talk about this week, then I was asked for this pattern, Butterick 6185
, in our craft shop and hey I was hooked.
The middle combination is my favourite I think. (I'm sure you'll agree all combinations are nice though). I just love my first fabric choice
This is a gorgeous quality designer stretch cotton fabric from the Jardine collection. This is a medium weight fabric suitable for a wide variety of uses, anything from your favourite garment to a funky cushion, so perfect for this dress, in fact perfect for any item off this pattern. The lycra (stretch) content makes this fabric very comfortable to wear and forgiving when fitting your garment.
I love the dress...
This is a very straightforward make, with pockets (if required) sewn into the sideseam. My favourite part is the double collar. Each 'collar' is made separately then attached to the neckline of the dress together.
Along with my first fabric I have chosen our plain jardin stretch cotton
- which is the same fabric as the spotty one above, but just in plain colours. We also do this beautiful range of plain stretch cotton
which comes in a much wider range of colours ranging from pretty pastels to deep dark shades! Something to go with everything and for the purpose of here and now I'm choosing navy and of course white.
The skirt and trousers both have an elasticated waist and sideseam pockets. In addition to the elasticated waist the skirt has a pleat at the front in the middle of 2 buttonholes (which the cord will be threaded through). After the pockets are sewn in the sideseams the top of the pockets line up approximately with the fold line. The top edge is then folded inside along this foldline to form the casing. Very easy, even easier if you don't insert the pockets.
The whole outfit has a lovely nautical look to it.Talking of which, how big is nautical at the moment? The following fabric
is cheap and very cheerful, at just £2.99 per metre.
The design on this polycotton is just fabulous and would make an amazing blouse off this pattern. Add to this our plain polycottons in navy and white, or how about red and white, for the collar and hey how good would that look (and how reasonably priced)! Remember polycotton is the ideal fabric for babies and children, reasonable in price, easy to sew and very easy to care for.
Polycotton would be too thin for the trousers so you could choose linen or linen mix. At the moment we have a clearance linen/viscose fabric
at just £4.99 per metre. It comes in white and navy blue (the black has now sold out unfortunately) and is a medium weight. Absolutely perfect for these trousers.
Seeing that we are talking nautical I will finish off this week with some more fabrics from the nautical theme!
looks, from a distance, almost a spotted design (see where I'm coming from) but in fact it is tiny yachts! The navy design has turquoise yachts scattered among the navy ones and the red has navy yachts scattered among the red ones, both on a white background. As this is a cotton poplin, it is ideal for summer. I quite fancy some shorts in the navy/turquoise as I have a turquoise, nautical theme t-shirt and some turquoise slip on sandals. This would be ideal for my holiday this summer. Can't wait for that!
New for this year is our stunning range of batik fabrics
. I have chosen to show you this beautiful hand printed fabric
in a fun turtle design. Well we are talking nautical haha!!
Due to the hand processes involved in creating this fabric, every metre is unique and irregularities in colour and print are all part of its naive charm! It is 100% cotton and a medium weight.
And so, sew long till next week and dare I say ship ahoy haha!
Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 8th April 2016 by Annette
Well here I am back at work! I am so lucky, I love my job. While I have been on holiday in Wales I have been knitting, knitting and more knitting!! My eldest Daughter Alison, as I mentioned previously, is expecting her third child. So, much as I love knitting it is nice to be back working with our lovely fabrics again.
Just to deviate a little!! I am also crocheting for the new baby, but alongside this I am crocheting a fabulous bag out of King Cole Raffia
. If like me you love crochet just take a peek at this King Cole Crochet Pattern
. I am making the bag in the top right hand corner. This is basically two large granny squares for the front and back, two handles and a long thin strip for the sides. I'll keep you informed how I'm getting on with it.
And so back to fabrics.
I'm thinking of loose cotton tops for the summer and I think Simplicity Pattern
8090 fits the bill perfectly.
The pattern envelope gives some good ideas of fabrics to use. Cottons are definitely the most suitable for these tops and as there are literally hundreds of Cotton Fabrics
to choose from here at Minerva, I don't think you're gonna be stuck for choice!!
What first drew me to this pattern was design B, I love how they have used two different size checks. I quite fancy it in pale blue. What do you think?
The larger gingham is made up of one inch squares and the smaller gingham is 1/8 squares. I love how they have attached the 1/8 gingham. It is used just at the front and gives the impression that it is a separate top underneath. Here,s a closer look at what I mean.
Version A would look lovely just in plain white cotton poplin but I like the idea of white broderie anglaise. It is so fresh looking.
Now version F is a little different in that there are no buttons. This is a sleeveless pullover top.I've decided to suggest Polycotton Fabric
for this top. This is a very versatile fabric that combines the softness and moisture absorption of cotton with the easy care qualities of polyester. It is also easy to work with and very price conscious at just £2.99 per metre. Just look at the huge range of colours. Incidentally polycotton is a great fabric to use for toilles!
They have used a fairly wide flat lace which is gathered on to piece 14 (this is the underneath bit that you don't see) so again gives the appearance of a separate top. I think you could easily substitute a pre-gathered lace, this would save a little work! In the following photo I have shown our lemon polycotton alongside this beautiful lace trimming
which is a broderie anglaise pre-gathered cotton lace. The finished piece of lace or the length of the pre-gatherd lace is approx 1/5 mt so check your 'bits' box. You never know you may just have the perfect piece.
My next choice of fabrics to show you today is for version E .
"This stunning fabric has a beautifully bold acanthus design printed on a cotton poplin base. Poplin is an extremely versatile fabric, you can make tops, skirts, dresses, shirts, shorts and more! You can also experiment and make soft furnishing projects for the home or even patchwork quilting".
I haven't got green fingers as they say so I googled acanthus and came up with this lovely picture and yes there is a strong likeness don't you think?
Before I say tara for today I thought I would just mention that on each version there is a cute little tab which is sewn into the back seam. A button is sewn on to the back to 'fasten' this tab. For most of the version's this button would just match the front ones but on version F (the lemon one) there are no more buttons. So you could make a feature of just this one.
These buttons look gorgeous on this fabric don't they? The fabric here is cotton poplin fabric
, a little higher in price at £5.99 per metre but it is 100% cotton. The button
at the top right of the photo resembles a flower. It would probably be too big for the size of the tab but you could always make the tab a little bigger. The other buttons
in the photo come in two sizes. The smaller one would be fine on the tab the size it is. I just think either button would look lovely with this lace.
And sew that is it for today. I'm off looking to find Monday's pattern of the week! Let me know if you have any suggestions :)
Trieste is a beautiful fabric
Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 1st April 2016 by Annette
and I am choosing just that for my #FabricFriday post this week. I have briefly mentioned this fabric before, suggesting it a few times on various blog posts. We describe it as follows;
The Trieste collection is a gorgeous soft and drapey peachskin. Not to be confused with microfibre, peachskin is the highest quality, very finely woven polyester fabric. Because this fabric is woven so finely (down to 0.001 denier) it means this fabric does not crease easily. Perfect for occasions when you need a fabric that will not crease such as travel wear or special occasion wear for bridesmaid dresses. It is a medium weight fabric that is perfect for making lots of different garments but is particularly suited to loose unstructured styles such as Jackets, Dresses, Tops, Skirts, Trousers and more. Peachskin has a beautiful softness and drape whilst still retaining body and weight unlike any other fabric. It is very easy to sew (when you use a very fine needle) and comes in a wide range of colours for all occasions.
Yes I know I have shown you this description before but there's no harm in showing it again haha. The following Sewing Pattern
is a brilliant example of where trieste would be used at it's best.
I would imagine that trieste has indeed been used for this pattern. The drape of the top and the 'hang' of the trousers/culottes is exactly what you get with this fabric. The range of colours is amazing and my choice for this pattern would be Cocoa Brown for the jacket, Ivory for the trousers/culottes and Tan Brown for the top.
The top has a cross over front with the back hanging a little lower than the front. The trouser/culottes have a shaped waistband and pockets set within the side seam. The jacket is lined (you could actually self line it) with a lovely little cut out V shape on the front edges. There is actually a step-by-step video of instructions by Mimi G (the designer) on the simplicity youtube channel
Evening dresses, cocktail dresses in fact any occasion dresses will look just wonderful in Trieste, our fabric choice for this Friday. Here I've chose a random selection from literally 100's of evening/cocktail dress patterns
available here at Minerva. First is Butterick Pattern
I've teamed this with the red trieste, very christmasy don't you think. This pattern is cut on the bias and will hang beautifully in trieste as will the gorgeous cowl neckline. Take note of the shaped hemline on the long version.
The skirt on this pattern is gathered at the waist so yet again the trieste will hang perfectly. My favourite style is version C. I just love the one shoulder look but with the addition of the sleeve.
On closer inspection version B has a diamante trim around the waist.
The trim on this photo is our Crystal & Bead Couture Bridal Lace Trimming
and looks remarkably like the one on the pattern.
Perhaps you would prefer something just on the front.
If so then our Diamante Crystal Band Couture Bridal Lace Applique
would fit the bill so to speak.
The last trim above is our Heavy Crystal Diamante Couture Bridal Lace Applique Trimming
which at 80mm wide could be a little too wide for some people but hey ho anything goes when you make it yourself. I think it looks beautiful. So much sparkle!
This next pattern choice is Vogue 1474
and is designed by Tom and Linda Platt.
How stunning is that? Look at the detail at the back. With a design such as this the wrong side of the fabric shows so because trieste is the same on both sides, it is very suitable for this pattern.
Both of these are knee length. The one that stands out to me most on the simplicity pattern is version C I love the hemline. Do they call this a bubble hem? I'm not sure but I love it anyway. On the McCalls pattern I love the layers of the skirt on version B but also it is giving you ideas for some pretty summer dresses.
Last but not least look at McCalls 7154
. This has to be my favourite today.
It reminds me very much of the dresses worn by 1930's film stars. In fact it says on the front of the pattern "The archive collection circa 1930". Just look at the back of this dress.
This is by no means an easy sew. There is an awful lot of work.There is an overbodice, an underbodice, yolks, stays, pleats and a shaped hemline. The wrong side shows so yet again trieste will sew a treat. On that note I'll leave you now because I feel the need to sew!
Posted in Q&A's on Wednesday the 30th March 2016 by Vicki Ormerod
A little while ago I stumbled across Lucky Sew and Sew and asked Carly if she would like to do a Q&A so you could find out a bit more about her and her blog!
Carly said yes! So here goes...
you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?
blog is a little insight into my life in general - a culmination of
the sewing for my business, sewing for myself and my family, my
children, my mad life. I try and keep things as real and honest as
possible. Being a wife, a Mummy and having a handmade business is a
lot of guess work, frustration and going-with-the-flow. I want to
share what makes me happy, what i'm up to, any tips and tricks i've
found, my achievements and even my battles. Trying to make a living
from what makes you happy is tough, but if I can do it, then so can
anyone, and I hope to enforce that with my blog.
did you start crafting and what inspired you to start?
always been more creative than academic (although my art teacher at
school would have said otherwise!). I've always loved crafting and
made a lot of things for my wedding myself. It wasn't until after my
son was born, in late 2012 that I first tried my hand at sewing.
Unfamiliar with my post-baby body, and not ready to go shopping for
new clothes yet, I decided to sew my own vintage-inspired dress. I
borrowed my Mum's sewing machine, bought a vintage pattern and some
fabric (I couldn't read the back of the pattern properly yet and
ended up with 6m of fabric!), and just went in blind. The pattern was
several sizes too small, so I even had to grade it up - I had no idea
what I was doing! Suprisingly, it turned out really well, and I felt
a massive surge of satisfaction from making something myself. The
love affair with sewing started then.
is your favourite craft?
do you love most about crafting?
freedom that it gives you to create something completley unique. I
your friends or family craft along with you?
Mum and I sew together alot. Lucky Sew and Sew is a joint venture for
us both. I also try and involve my children with crafts when I can,
although they are a little bit young at the minute. My three year old
loves to press the foot pedal when i'm sewing, but his most favourite
thing to do is to pick out fabrics that he likes for me to sew him
something from. He also loves to look at my vintage sewing pattern
collection with me, he loves the drawings on the front of the
do you make things for?
and anyone I can! I think sewing gifts is so much more thoughtful and
personal than simply buying something. I always have a huge list of
gifts to sew at Christmas time, and usually cut the timing quite
fine! This Christmas I made rather a lot, including embroidered
slippers for my Dad, a dress for my Mum, a bag for my Mother-in-Law
and a vintage dolly family for my baby daughter, amongst other
made you decide to start to blog about your crafting?
started blogging to keep a track on what i've made and what i've been
up to. It's really easy to forget when you're busy, and it's nice
sometimes to take a step back and look at what you have acheived.
you have a favourite snack when crafting?
can't really snack while I sew as I'll end up with sticky
fingerprints on things! But my husband likes to bring me cups of tea
which keep me going.
3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?
A seam ripper, good quality scissors and an overlocker!
are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why?
absolutley love to sew with Scuba Fabric! If you haven't come across it
before, it's like the fabric that scuba suits are made from, hence
the name. It's thick, very stretchy and very versitile. It comes in
the most vibrant prints too, which I love!
is your favourite product on the Minerva Crafts website and what
would you make with it?
love the pink houndstooth printed scuba fabric. I would make a lovely
swimsuit or bikini for the summer from it.
many projects do you have on the go at one time?
many! My mind never switches off! I often have orders for lingerie, a
project for myself, and also a couple for the children, as well as
working on new designs for Lucky Sew and Sew. I have a sewing journal
where I try and keep note of my projects so that I don't have too
many all at once and can keep track.
your favourite thing you have ever made?
recently purchased the Roberts Collection pattern from Marilla Walker
and made myself some dungarees. I LOVE this pattern, it's so straight
forward and quick to sew, so rewarding too. I haven't stopped wearing
my dungarees since they were completed!
is your latest WIP (Work in progress)?
pair of dungarees, from the same pattern actually! My first pair were
a deep denim, which I added pockets to. This pair is made from a
floral stretch cotton twill.
you watch TV or listen to music while you craft?
can't watch the TV, I find it too distracting! I sometimes listen to
an audiobook, but usually I listen to music, I find it really
do you go to for inspiration before you start crafting?
find inspiration in a lot of places. Museums, vintage shops,
magazines. If I'm trying to think of a new design for Lucky Sew and
Sew, I usually sit with my sketch book and make a few rough ideas. I
then fine tune them and talk them over with my Mum before starting a
sample. I find Pinterest can be great for inspiration, but when i'm
feeling a bit lost or have a creative mind-block, I like to go for a
walk and get some fresh air to clear my mind. I think having too many
ideas can cloud your creativity, so it's good to connect with nature,
get grounded and then it's easier to focus. I live by the sea-side,
and the salt-sea air really cleanses the creative mind!
you have any advice for new bloggers?
not to worry to much about what you think people might want to read
and instead write about what you enjoy. Writing about something you
have a true passion for will be far more engaging than writing about
something which you think you should be writting about.
you sum yourself up as a crafter in 3 words?
and Thread - my two favourite things!
Thank you so much for that Carly! Please take the time to check out Carly's blog for more!
Bye for now,