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Product Review: Prym Ironing Sheet by Victoria

Hi, I’m Victoria from Lightning Bolt to the Soul, and I’m going to review the Prym Ironing Sheet that was very kindly sent to me by Minerva Crafts to review.

Recently I’ve taken to watching sewing shopping channels – dangerous when you’re on a budget – and one of the products that really got me interested was the ironing mat everyone seemed to be using. For me, ironing and pressing is the absolute worst when it comes to dressmaking. But, I thought, wouldn’t life be easier if I had a heat-proof mat I could use, rather than lugging the ironing board around the house, leaving it blocking up the hallway while I pretend I’m going to finish that hem in the near future...

So when the team at Minerva contacted me to say they were looking for reviewers for the Prym Ironing Sheet, I almost bit their hands off. A couple of days later it arrived – it’s way too bulky to fit though your letterbox, expect a trip to your parcel depot if you’re not in – and I can honestly say I’ve barely stopped using it since.

All brand new in its packaging.

I’m going start with the only negative, as it was one of the first things I noticed; there is a complete lack of instructions with this product. I know it’s an ironing mat, and how many instructions do you need, etc, etc, but actually, I’m boring and I like to read the instructions. I wanted to know if there were any surfaces you could or couldn’t use it on, maximum iron temperature, laundering instructions, but there was nothing. There’s a teeny tiny wash label attached to it, and that’s all you’re getting!

Apparently it’s non-washable – I wonder what I’ll do when I inevitably spill a mug of tea on it?

However. If that’s the only downside, then we’re doing OK. Better than OK, in fact; I absolutely love this product, and it really has changed the way I sew. On to the positives!

Sorry for the wrinkly picture, it presses beautifully but I can’t seem to iron the wrinkles out of the mat itself!!

The product itself measures 36¾” x  19¾” (93cm x 50cm) which is a really good size. It’s small enough to lay out on the floor and not be completely in the way, and it’s large enough to press long sections of fabric at once, like curved hems. It’s also wider than my ironing board which makes it easier to press skirt panels and wider pieces; there’s less shuffling around. I used my ironing board at the beginning of the project to iron my 3m length of fabric, and then used the ironing sheet thereafter for all the seams, hems and details, and it presses like a dream.

The mat allows you to press lovely sharp lines really easily.

The product is made from 100% cotton, according to the teeny label, and it has a squishy feel to it which I know is the heat-resistance, but which also makes pressing super easy. On the top of the mat there are grid markings and angles like there are on a cutting mat, which are reasonably useful. One thing I did use these for was lining up the edge of my fabric with the lines printed on the sheet; this meant I had really crisp, straight lines which really helped show off the detail of the finished dress.

I lined up straight edges to make sure I was pressing accurately and not distorting the nice straight lines I had cut... except I had distorted it a bit!

I don’t think I would rely on these gridlines to measure anything too accurately, as the squishy nature of the fabric means that the measurements warp a little bit. It’s perfectly fine for a guide – I used it to double check my 1.5cm seam allowance (it doesn’t have inches, sadly) for reassurance, but I wouldn’t rely on it if I was doing intricate quilting.

The lines are really useful but can get a little bit distorted.

I mostly use this product on the floor. I have my sewing machine on a little TV-dinner table in my lounge, so that I can cut out on the floor and sew sat in my armchair, trying not to take up the entire lounge. When I had my ironing board in the lounge as well I would hop from station to station shouting  “CAREFUL!” every time my husband walked in, and it was a bit of a pain. Now, when I’m done with my cutting mats, they go back under the couch and my ironing mat comes out (don’t worry, the iron is kept on the mantelpiece, not lying around on the floor) so I can just iron pieces bit by bit, and it doesn’t take over the entire room.

The product is clearly designed to go on tables (although, obviously, there are no instructions!); there is a little flap on the long edge that has a pincushion, three pockets, and a removable Velcro bag to stuff your spare threads in. This hangs down the side of the table, making them much easier to use. I, on the other hand, don’t have an easily accessible table large enough for the mat to go on (I’ve put it on my kitchen worktop for the sake of this picture), so I didn’t really use the pockets and Velcro bag as they just lay flat on the floor, although I did use the pincushion quite frequently. I’m sure they’d be useful for people using the product on a tabletop, but they didn’t really make much of an impression on me.

Please excuse the fridge; I don’t have another table big enough to rest it on!

Overall, I have to say I love this product. I really recommend it, and I’m considering buying another one for my static caravan, where space really is at a premium. It’s seriously handy, and it actually makes me want to sew more; I’m lazy, and the thought of trudging through to my utility room to get the ironing board and set it up can be enough to put me off a short sewing burst. Whipping out the ironing mat from behind the chair, on the other hand, makes setup so much easier, and before I know it I’m away, pressing seams and hems. This product is lightweight, portable and space-saving; ideal for those who don’t necessarily have a dedicated sewing space. I am really enjoying using this product and I would recommend it to other stitchers in a heartbeat.

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#PatternoftheWeek - McCalls 7332

Goodness me May already. So we can definitely start thinking summer and our summer wardrobe. However it can still be nippy out there so it is nice to have a new jacket (or two haha) to throw over our lovely summer makes! My pattern and fabric choices for you this week fits the bill perfectly I think.
This Sewing Pattern is number 7332 by McCalls. It can be made with or without a collar, sleeveless or full length sleeves. The jacket is lined but this could be left out if you prefer a lighter weight for spring. Take a look at my next photo. 
This is showing the diagonal seam in the front. You could actually put pockets within this seam. If any of you purchased McCalls Sewing Pattern 7469 (I mentioned it a few weeks ago) you can see from version B that the pockets on this dress are inserted in a very similar seam.
Looking at version D, I love how the bottom of the jacket and sleeves has been sewn in a leatherlook fabric. Take a look at our soft faux Leather Fabric...
Admittedly this is a little more expensive at £14.99 per mt than our basic Faux Leather but without doubt this fabric is amazing for dressmaking. It is very soft and supple and drapes beautifully. This light brown does look a little darker than what is used in the pattern but I think the top part of the jacket would still look lovely in a camel. My choice would be our Washable Wool Fabric (you know the one with no wool in it!!) in camel. This is priced at £10.99 per mt.
Version A would be fab in say a linen and whether you line it or not it would hang beautifully. Take a look at our Blades Linen Fabric which is quite a good weight at £14.99 per mt. This comes in an impressive 41 colours so you would easily find something to go with outfit. This photo below is of colour Magenta, which I think is beautiful, but with 41 colours there are so many other sto choose from...
We have the most gorgeous Scuba Fabric in our clearance fabrics. I think this would look fab in version B with no collar. Sometimes scuba can sew up a little bulky so the key is to have as little pieces as possible (think bodycon dresses).
This superb fabric is now reduced to just £7.99 per mt so strike while the iron is hot! 
Last but not least I am showing you a Jacquard Lining Fabric which I am suggesting for version C.
Now you may think I'm loosing it! But please be assured we sell lots and lots of these patterned linings for everything under the sun. That is not to say we don't sell them for what they were first intended which is lining jackets etc., but if you make this up with a black satin collar and lower sleeve you will have a stunning evening jacket. Nice and lightweight for that summer event you have in mind.
Dont forget, McCalls 7332 is our #PatternoftheWeek so you save 50% on it for this week only!
Thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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Animal Print Slash Stretch Jersey Dress Fabric Review by Simona

As you probably know by now, the lovely people at Minerva Crafts have a team of crafty people that help them test the products they sell on their impressive online shop, to make sure they are of a good quality and to give sewing inspiration. I am proud to be one among some really talented people chosen to be part of this team.

For the second product I was asked to test this Jersey Fabric called 'Animal Print Slash Stretch Jersey Dress Fabric', which is described as;

"This wonderful devore jersey fabric has a trendy leopard skin print design perfect for all ages! The fabric is contrasted from two layers which are attached together so you treat them as one fabric when sewing. The top layer features the animal print design which is attached to the plain base layer of fabric to give this burn out devore effect. Perfect for making tops, dresses, skirts and more."

It comes in four colour combinations: Blue & Black, Cream & Black, Grey &Black and Pink & Black. I chose to go with the Blue & Black combination.

As usual the lovely Minerva Crafts team did not disappoint, the fabric was beautifully packaged and sent over really fast (it could be because I live quite close to their head office and Royal Mail takes less time).

This is how it looks right after it is taken out of the package.

It has a very soft feel. I kept stroking it for a long while. Originally I believed the base layer is a solid. However I discovered it is a see through mesh. When I saw the fabric I wanted to make a dress, but because it is a bit to see through and the project I intended to make is not lined, I changed my plans and made the tunic version of it.

This is how it looks from the wrong side.

I started working with my fabric without washing it. However as suggested it is safer to pre-wash your fabric before starting your project, to avoid disappointment. I've made a loose fitting tunic so, even if it shrinks in the first wash, the tunic will still fit me. Yes I know it is a bit cheeky of me to do, but I think it will not shrink so I'm taking the risk.

I pined my pattern pieces to the fabric and used my scissors to cut the fabric. I expected the cutting process to be a bit cumbersome, as in the past when using 3D/ layered fabrics sometimes it was hard to cut through due to having to apply different pressure as the thickness of the fabric changes. It wasn't the case with this, although at times you could sense the change in thickness as you cut the fabric.

For this fabric I used super Stretch Machine Needles and attached my walking foot to help the fabric go through evenly. Testing stitches proved that my machine works better for this fabric using a small zig-zag, rather than the lightning stitch. I've tried to show this in the picture but, black thread on black does not show.

Once the seams were stitched together, I used my overlocker to finish them. But if you don't have on the fabric does not fray, so you can just leave them like that.

I used the same zig-zag stitch to hem my tunic. Just made it a bit wider than on the seams (this one shows off better as it's not all black on black).

I followed the same process for the facings of my tunic, topstitched the them in place.

I found the fabric easy to handle and by using the correct needle and the walking foot sewing it was a breeze. However, when sewing with it, I do advise you go slow, especially when doing the hems to avoid waves. The fabric feels so soft against the skin. It also looks pretty modern due to the print and cut outs. I'll be wearing my tunic with leggings or skinny jeans.

What would you make with this lovely Fabric? I have a little bit left over (due to me not making a dress as originally planned) which I plan using in making a top. I love this fabric so much.

If you get this fabric please share your makes, I'll love seeing what you make.

Hope you enjoyed reading this. Thank you so much for taking the time to do so.

Simona @ Sewing Adventures in the Attic 

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Hi! 

Im Polly from Jak and Gee Gee and I'm here today guest posting on the Minerva Crafts blog as I was offered the chance to test the Sleepover Bag Sewing Pattern from Machine Stars, who offer a range of sewing patterns aimed at children

My son’s aged 6 and 8 often ask to help on my sewing projects but it’s rare we find something they really want to make for themselves. On the odd occasion they ask to make something I spend a lot of time explaining pattern instructions as the language can be a little confusing.

As the boys have had some previous experience sewing I also invited a few of their friends over to help test the pattern, who have no sewing experience what so ever. To save time I pre-cut all the pieces the kids would need to make their bags and transferred the markings too (I did walk the kids through it once it was done though). I liked the fact that the pattern pieces all clearly had their cut and stitch lines marked. The text on the pattern pieces was clear too.

The instructions include a list of sewing terms, I got all the kids to read it before we started. They all found them fairly easy to understand which meant I didn’t have to explain too much as we made their bags. Overall we all felt the instructions were easy to read and follow, the text was clear and the language used wasn’t too “dumbed down”. The sketches included were simple, I liked the way they showed the correct way to pin the fabric for that particular step. The only little issue I had with the sketches was that they didn’t have a different colour or shading to indicate the right and wrong side of the fabric, instead it was written on each sketch.  I think the shading would have made it easier to differentiate between the two.

I have to be honest we did tweak the pattern slightly. The pattern gets you to top stitch the pocket pieces on all four sides before attaching them, we only top stitched the top, then attached the pockets as I felt it was a bit unnecessary to stitch the sides twice.

The pattern also tells you to attach the strap after topstitching the top of the bag. I didn’t like the idea of the unfinished strap ends showing inside the bag, so instead we folded the strap ends under the hem and attached it when we top stitched the top of the bag. 

The last change I made was to overlock the raw edges, rather than zig zag stitch, other than that we followed the pattern.

The kids all did a great job on their bags. I was surprised by the amount of care and concentration they put into them, I could tell they enjoyed making something of their own. 

I would definitely recommend both the Sleepover Bag pattern and the Machine Stars range for children. I think even if as an adult you weren’t confident sewing you would be able to follow the pattern and help a child to make a bag. If your child is used to a sewing machine they would easily be able to follow this pattern and make the bag themselves.

Thanks for reading,

Polly

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Product Review: Clover Pompom Makers by Michele

Hi Everyone,

Today we have another review of the Clover Pompom Maker Tools this time from Michele, who you can find over at Swiss Army Wife blog. This is what she had to say....

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Seriously, what’s not to like….

I received my pom-pom makers and having bought one in Canada years ago and lost it, I was keen to have another set to try out. With the number of baby hats that I have made recently, all needing a pom-pom to finish them off, I really was a bit sick of the old cardboard method. Cutting the circles and then destroying them to remove the pom-pom is a thing of the past – magic, I hear you say, absolutely!

The two sets I received are made up of the extra small sizes – 20mm and 25mm; and the small sizes – 35mm and 45mm; two per pack.

I whizzed up a few pom-poms in absolutely no time at all and now remember why I love this product so much.

Select the size you need, open the arms,

wind the yarn around each end (I don’t break the yarn but carry it from one side to the other and trim along with the cutting step),

return the arms to the center position again,

trim a length of yarn to tie off your pom-pom, snip through all the layers,

thread your tie around the center of the pom-pom, pull really tight, flip it over and tie the yarn on the other side to make sure it is really secure, knot it off,

open the arms out again, pull the two parts of the pom-pom maker apart – et voila!

You have a pom-pom….yes, it may not be the prettiest one yet, but after a little trim and fluff it will be.

That’s it in a nutshell….couldn’t be easier.

Even our beginners and grandchildren can make great pom-poms straight away. Hubby made his first one ever and in his own words…”Easy, Peasy, Lemon Squeezy”.

The ladies at our knitting group in Wigan – Good Yarn – all loved them as well.

As I said, what’s not to like about a gadget that makes something quicker and easier than you used to make them the old fashioned way.

There is no comparison between these and the cheap set we have at knitting group, the Clover pom-pom maker is SO much better. It is well made, easy to use and well worth spending your hard-won crafting budget on.

10/10

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Q&A with Corrine from What Corrine Did Next Blog

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

Hi I'm Corrine from What Corrine Did Next! I've been blogging for the last two and a half years. The easiest way for me to describe it is a mash up of Sewing Bee meets Bake Off (but then making and eating all those cakes, being able to make and adjust clothes is pretty helpful!) I started my website to encourage people to have a go at something new - you'll notice almost all of my recipes and makes are relatively simple (generally beginner or intermediate level)...this is deliberately for this purpose!

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

I started sewing in 2013. My friend and cousin were on the same dressmaking course and I wanted to get in on the action. They found they got very little from their course as they spent most of the session waiting for the tutor to come round, so we formed our own little sewing bee with my mum helping us when we got stuck. Mum gave me her machine when I properly started sewing. She bought it with the money my Gran left to her so it's a special machine for us both and I've christened it Annie after her (don't worry, I treated mum to a new Singer, she's still sewing lots of bags!)

What was your first project?

My first project was a disaster - I decided to make a blue shell top from craft cotton with an exposed red zip...my poor mum (who is a fabulous seamstress) was trying to teach me and had her head in her hands on lots of occasions, thinking I'd never pick it up. I gave up briefly then was seduced by an advent calendar panel to quilt, got the bug (and a bit of skill) and I've not looked back!

What do you love most about sewing?

The thrill of making something beautiful from scratch still makes me really happy...having someone ask where I bought it from makes me even happier! Seriously though, being able to make whatever pops into my head rather than trawling round endless shops and feeling frustrated I can't find what I wanted has been the biggest draw - I love designing my perfect wardrobe.

Do your friends or family craft along with you?

Yes, my mum, cousin and friend Lynsey are all keen sewists (my friend Lynsey makes the most beautiful childrenswear as Yellow Bug Designs - her Instagram feed is just the cutest and I'd kill to be as neat as her!)

Who do you make things for?

A mix - I love sewing my own wardrobe but nothing makes me happier than sewing for other people - handmade gifts are so much fun to make and give! Last Christmas I tried to make as many gifts as possible.

Do you have a favourite snack when crafting?

Cake - my Rocky Road Bites are the perfect accompaniment :)

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

Good Pair of Scissors (I love my Fiskars), Clover Quilting Clips (they're much easier than pins when you're securing jersey) and my little Embroidery Snips for when it all goes horribly wrong (I prefer them so much more than a seam ripper)

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why?

For me it's got to be Jersey Fabric. If I look at my RTW wardrobe I used to buy so many jersey items and I love me-made jersey items just as much. When I began sewing one of the first things I made for myself was a royal blue Ruby Dress in ponte roma - I've certainly not shied away from knit fabrics!

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

It can vary greatly - I like to cut out projects in batches so I'd say 4-5 on average but I like to know I always have something ready to start (as well as it being a huge timesaver).

Whats your favourite thing you have ever made?

It's got to be my advent calendar - it's not my most technical project by a long shot but it holds lots of great memories of learning to sew. 

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

At the moment I'm renovating a spare bedroom into my sewing studio so I've currently taken over the dining table with my back to the TV. You'll most likely find me listening to music while I sew, with Foo Fighters, Paramore, Evanescence and You Me At Six featuring heavily on my playlist.

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

I love Instagram - I'm not alone in saying this, so many of us would agree, the sewing community are a great support and source of inspiration. I could waste hours looking at what everyone else is making! It's perfect for seeking out a new pattern to make!

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

Think about your garment insides, making then as neat as the outside give a more professional finish. It will make you feel like you're winning at sewing - I used Hong Kong seams in my Morris Blazer and I love them every time I put my jacket on.

Do you have any advice for new bloggers?

Enjoy what you're doing and be yourself - there's nothing more engaging as a reader than getting to know who you're reading about so make it personal!

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

Haha, it's probably easier for me to answer that as someone around me when I sew...probably a "little bit sweary" (well it doesn't always work does it?!)

What are your crafting ambitions?

I'd love to move into delivering workshops and share my love of sewing with other people.

What would you say to anyone looking to start sewing?

Have a go, start simple and enjoy what you're doing, it's a great hobby to get into!

What is your favourite product on the Minerva Crafts website and what would you make with it?

A classic, but I love the range of Ponte Roma Fabric - from Morris Blazers to Cocos to pencil skirts, it's so versatile (and really warm in winter, you feel like you're wearing pyjamas!) it's a staple for me and Minerva Crafts have such a geat selection to choose from!

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#PatternoftheWeek - Burda 6541

Apologies to all my sewing friends. I'm afraid my blog posts have been none existent over the last few weeks, due to a bad back and a bad cough. As you can imagine the bad back didn't help the cough and the cough certainly didn't help the bad back. So apart from feeling very sorry for myself I have so missed sharing my ideas with you. This hasn't stopped me thinking of new ideas and I have scrutinised our fantastic website for new fabrics and products over the last few weeks. 
So I am starting today with offering you as our #patternoftheweek with 50% off for one week only, Burda 6541.
This Sewing Pattern is obviously aimed at the younger generation, I know my Granddaughter Jess would absolutely love this dress or top worn with skinny jeans, ripped or otherwise!! The sizes start at 6, ideal for these young skinny minnie's but goes up to size 18 which covers us more mature ladies. The dress is a simple shift dress, ideal for your holidays and the top is either single or double layer.
Look at version A, although the pattern suggests lightweight cottons, viscose-rayon or crepe fabrics, the fabric used has a pile, appearing to be like a fur fabric. And so I would like to introduce to you one of our latest, more unusual Fashion Fabrics
Although this is 100% polyester, it is a layered leather-look sewn onto a fine net backing.  Any fabrics with an unusual texture should be sewn with as little seams as possible. So with this pattern just having 2 shoulder and 2 side seams it certainly fits the bill. One of my colleagues in the Minerva Craft Centre suggested making a little mini skirt in this fabric and mentioned her daughter would absolutely love it. So this got me thinking you could quite easily make a mini skirt with minimum seams. Instead of a waistband you could unpick 1 or 2 of the rows of fringed leather look. 
You would be left with a few inches of just the net. Fold this edge over and sew along leaving a gap for elastic then finish off by threading through some non roll elastic in black. I know I have mentioned this elastic many times but I must just mention it again. Whether you use the Peterstretch version or the Hemline version, an elastic that will not fold over when worn is the way forward. Believe me you will never go back to ordinary elastic again. 
Just a last word on the pattern. Instead of using the suggested facings, it may be easier to use a bias binding or my next suggestion may be the answer for the neckline! Unpick a length of the leather look fringe from a spare bit of fabric, as before, then use this as a new edging to attach around the neckline. If it doesn't look too good, as in the original stitched line and the new stitched line possibly looking a little messy then use some binding to finish it off which will enfold this edge.
And a last word on this fabric. It is £18.99 per mt but do bear in mind how little you would need for either of the above garments.
Georgette Fabric is very popular at the moment, not always my favourite fabric to sew I must admit but how beautiful would it look made up for version B. Take a look at my next two choices both with a plain layer underneath. First up is our spotty design Fabric...
Or how about this Fabric...
Both of these beautiful Georgettes are reduced in price to just £2.99 per mt or if you prefer something with a lighter background take a look at these Fabrics...
Again both priced at an incredible £2.99 per mt. 
Again thank you so much for reading,
Annette xx
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Batik Stripe Nascha Mini Skirt by Kten

Hey Gals and Guys,

I’m Kten. If we haven’t already met… Hiiii nice to meet ya :o)! I normally blog over at Jinx & Gunner, my e-home-away-from-home but this month I’ve come to pay Minerva’s e-crib a little visit because they were nice enough to send me some project materials (Thank you Minerva!!) and I wanted to do a little share-sies with you fine folks. Hope you like it:

I hate to so publicly pat-myself-on-the-back buuuut isn’t she a beaut?? This is the Nascha mini skirt by Named Patterns. To best highlight the strong diagonal design line and triangular slit across the front, as well as the exposed zip in the back, I knew I wanted a striped fabric to work with. So Minerva sent me 2yds of this gorgeous hand printed Batik Fabric and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out (pat pat ;o) ). However, if I’m being completely honest, after all the effort I put into pattern placement on the front and back, I wasn’t quite able to pattern match the sides. Oh well … sometimes something’s gotta give, right?

On the topic of fabric pattern, lets take a quick minute to discuss this batik deliciousness shall we? It’s listed as a medium-weight cotton on Minerva’s site, but truth be told, when it arrived it was a little bit lighter than I expected. I think this is probably due to the tension of the weave as opposed to the thickness of the fiber. It’s not loose by any means but also doesn’t have that stiff/crispness that comes with a tight weave and ultimately what I was expecting from ‘medium weight cotton’. Does that make sense? Either way the fabric was definitely still solid enough for this application, but for future reference it may be better suited for a top or loose fitting summer dress. Just my opinion, but by all means go get some and then let’s discuss, lol.

The fabric itself has a slightly wrinkled texture to it that I think comes from the wax treatment used in the batik-ing process. In a way it’s almost similar to seersucker… but better, I mean look at those thick juicy stripes! Also these are hand painted stripes folks, so every once in a while you’ll see where they don’t quite match up, and even more rarely where the wax must have accidentally dripped during the creation process. I loooove these parts…insert all the heart eyes. For me it really plays up having a one-of-a-kind piece. Those subtleties plus the ability to manipulate the stripes with such a modern structured pattern made me like a kid in a candy shop!

Minerva sent me 2 yards to play with and even though I was cutting all my pieces on the bias to accentuate the design lines, I had more than enough to make a size 34. In addition to this I was also sent white cotton lining and a metal zip. I pre-washed the two fabrics together and my white lining definitely came out looking ever so slightly blue, so color coordinate if you wash this fabric people. For me, however, at the end of the day, these two fabrics will always be washed together now that I have bound them together for life, so it’s all good in my book. Now, I just have a perfectly matched lining ;o)! I requested a metal zip since it would be exposed and I just think they make a project look so profesh (I know, here we go again, pat pat).

If you’ve read about this pattern before on other blogs, then you probably already know that it is an amazing puzzle of a pattern that comes together very cleverly. Not an unfinished seam in sight. Truth-be-told there isn’t even a finished seam in sight because everything is enclosed within the lining. The last step of the entire skirt has you hand sew the lining to the exposed zip and the front slit, but that’s it for hand sewing, so it’s a pretty quick make as well.

As I mentioned earlier this is a straight size 34. When I was muslin-ing the pattern I made a size 32, and while the waist was pretty good, because the whole skirt pegs slightly and I not only have hips, but also thighs that ‘don’t lie’ I felt a little limited in my mobility…like… could-only-take-dainty-steps limited, lol. This one is waaaaay more comfortable, but also sits a little lower on my hips because the waist is a tad too big. Next time I might grade between the two sizes but I’ll see how this one ‘performs’ over a couple washes before deciding. You never know if a little shrinking is in the cards with a natural fiber and I’m already pretty happy with the fit, so we shall see.

Anyways, I think I’ve probably already written more than you all signed up to read so I’ll just leave you with one more pic showing my pattern matching skillz (pat pat pat) ;o)

Happy sewing peeps. It was a pleasure to meet ya!

Later,

Kten

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Product Review: Clover Pompom Makers by Emma and her Machine

Hi Everyone,

Today we have another review of the Clover Pompom Maker Tools this time from Emma @ Emma and her Machine and this is what she had to say....

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The Clover Pom Pom Maker looks a little complicated but it so easy once you get started. 

I'm not well known for being good at fiddly projects so I approached this with a bit of trepidation. I thought I would start with the bigger one (45mm) to get my head around it. I followed the instructions. The instructions on the back are not enough on their own but there's much more in depth pictures and tips on the inside of the card. 

My first attempt left a lot to be desired, I don't think I wrapped it tight enough and my snipping mustn't have been very neat. So it wasn't looking great.

In the interest of product reviewing, I persevered and tried the extra small one (20mm)... And it worked! It looked really neat and cute. Once I had a few (because who wants one pom pom?) I asked my husband to time me and I could make a pom pom in 3 minutes. For someone who isn't very good at fiddly, it works really easily and I imagine it's the easiest way to get pom poms that small.

I chose a fine pink yarn with bits of glitter in it and it looks really pretty. I'm not sure a thicker wool would work for the smaller ones but it does on the larger two.

A few tips for the smaller ones: use embroidery scissors with sharp tips for really good precision and it suggests to tie a knot which you wrap the yarn three times so you can tighten but I found that it was too bulky to fit between the gaps so I just double knotted it and it seemed to work out great. Finally, your project will need a really good shake when you're finished, preferably over a surface you can sweep up, to get rid of any little bits that have loosened up. 

Overall, it's quite a relaxing process and easy to do in front on the TV to get a nice little pile. 

I used mine to make a cushion for my niece's birthday. I wanted it like a trim so I took some stashed multicoloured twined ribbon and stitched the pom poms in place along it. I used three fingers in between each to space them out, but you could measure it like a dedicated Crafter!!

This is really easy too; the needle goes through easily and you can't see the stitch. It only takes a couple for stitches to hold them comfortably in place. I hacked an old pillowcase and drew lines in my air erasable marker across the cushion. I then sewed the ribbon in place. My hand embroidery isn't great so it looks a little informal but I still love it!

I then made new buttonholes and used random pink buttons to make it even more fun! Perfect for a little girl! 

My niece loved it, it's a real personal touch for her room. I think the fact that I made something for her with the pom poms speaks volumes because it has to be pretty sturdy to last five minutes around an excitable six year old. My memories of pom pom making as a child are that of wonky, unsecured little bobbles so I'm really pleased that they feel so robust, even though they are small and they look so professional.

I'm definitely going to do something similar again and use them to trim the hem of a skirt or a scarf. I think they are really cheerful and cute! I want to do a bit of research about what to use the bigger ones for too. I've also seen lots of people do them in different colours, I think that would be fabulous too!

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Product Review: Machine Stars Children's Apron Sewing Pattern by Emma

Hi Everyone,

We have just started stocking these lovely Sewing Patterns from a brand called Machine Stars here at Minerva HQ. They are aimed at teaching children to sew and are supposed to be super easy, in the hope of encouraging more children to take up the hobby and be creative. There are 8 different patterns to choose from and we sent Emma from Sandpiper Sewing a cope of the Apron to have a go! Here is what she had to say....

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I tested this pattern with my 7yrs old helper who thought it was awesome.

The pattern comes in really great child friendly packaging, with a clear drawing of the finished product. I think this pattern would make a really lovely gift for a child who’s just starting to sew.

On the back of the pattern packet it listed everything you need to start, note - it does mention later in within the instructions that you might prefer to use ribbon for the neck and back straps, it would be good if they could add a note about this.

So we are all set with our supplies as per the packet.

Next we took out the pattern, which comes on lovely brown paper rather than tissue paper, which I really liked for children as tissue paper can tear and that would have been frustrating for a 7 year old. There’s just one size so much less confusing than finding your size and having to check which line you are cutting. I do think the apron comes up big, that was the first thing I noticed when I put the pattern out on my table, but I guess it’s a bonus that you could turn up the length and then just let down when your child grows taller.

To save time pinning the pattern to the fabric we just drew around the edge of the pattern with a Water Erasable Pen, (a pen that will vanish when you apply water to the marks). You could use an air erasable pen or you could use dressmakers chalk whatever you have to hand.

Next the instructions say to turn the edges under by 1cm, and pin. We used Wonder Clips for this as not only do they hold the folded fabric better, you are able to sew closer to them which helps avoid the fabric coming unfolded, and there’s no sharp pins for a child to worry about catching themselves on. I use wonder clips lots myself when sewing I’d definitely recommend them, great for bias binding.

Next you can either make straps from tubes of the fabric or use ribbon or cotton tape. Because our Fabric was quite a heavy weight canvas I thought tubes from this fabric would result in very bulky straps which wouldn’t tie very well and also would not be soft around the neck when wearing the apron, so we used soft Cotton Tape, which although means an additional purchase I think it's cheaper than using your fabric. The pattern instructions also suggest ribbon for the ties.

When attaching the neck strap we decided to add some Velcro for safety which I’ve seen on lots of aprons we have purchased, this also gives a little room to adjust the size too.

Here’s the finished apron, this is on a ladies size 10/12 dummy so as you can see it does come up fairly big. We are both very pleased with the finished apron!

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