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Needlecord Morris Blazer & GBSB Pencil Skirt by Julie

I was excited to be offered the opportunity to review a Dressmaking Fabric for Minerva Crafts. I opted to receive 2 m of ‘Leaf Print Stretch Needlecord Fabric’. However, when the fabric arrived, to be honest I wasn’t initially thrilled; it just wasn’t a print I would usually be drawn to. It is available in 4 colourways and I was sent the green. This has a bright green background with a distinctive dark green leaf print, all interspersed with embroidered lines of contrasting cream thread.

It was obvious that the fabric itself was good quality, with a substantial feel. I pulled across the width of the fabric and found it had a decent amount of stretch (I estimated 15 to 20%), with excellent recovery. I also measured the size of the leaf motif to be around 8”. 

Next, I did what I often do when trying to visualize the potential of a new purchase. I draped the fabric on Dolly the dressform, stood back and pondered. Hmm, what to make? 

This is not a flimsy drapey fabric. It is described as medium weight on the website, but I would personally put it into the medium to heavy weight category. Having said that, it was moulding itself to the dressform, so I wouldn’t describe it as being stiff either. This fabric holds its shape well and in my mind was calling out for a pattern that would make the most of its stretchability. 

I decided to put the fabric into a cool wash and ponder its future. I don’t usually tumble dry my makes, so chose to air-dry overnight. As with other needlecords I’ve used, it came out of the machine covered in bits of fluff – a bit of a pain, but the nature of the beast.  It seemed to hold its colour well though and ironed beautifully.

I had recently made a ponte roma version of the Grainline Studio Morris Blazer Sewing Pattern and knew that this great little pattern worked best with stretch fabrics, especially those with a firm structure. Seemed like the stretch needlecord and Morris Blazer were calling to each other. 

The Morris Blazer pattern indicates that the facings should be interfaced, but due to the needlecord’s weight, I decided to risk it and not to bother. I cut out the pattern pieces using my trusty rotary cutter. It cut easily and didn’t fray much. It sewed like a dream, the stitches sank into the fabric in a very satisfying manner. I have heard that corduroy can be a bit tricky to work with (the pile can cause the fabric to ‘walk’ while it is moving through the machine), so to combat this I used a walking foot and plenty of pins.  In the event I had no problem at all.

I also took extra care when pressing – I used offcuts of the needlecord fabric as a pressing cloth to avoid marking the pile. I was pleased with the way the blazer turned out using this fabric – it had a lovely structure, which worked perfectly.

Since this is a wide fabric (56”) I had enough fabric left over to make a Great British Sewing Bee pencil skirt for my daughter. 

At which point it occurred to me that I had effectively sewn a suit out of 2 m of needlecord fabric!

So in summary, although this wasn’t my usual style of fabric print, it had a lovely quality, which I enjoyed working with. In the end I surprised myself with how much I liked the 2 garments I managed to make with just 2 m of this fabric. My daughter has a new skirt and I have a new jacket. 

Thanks for reading,

Julie @bumblyflower

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#PatternoftheWeek - Butterick 6019

I couldn't believe it when this weeks #PatternoftheWeek jumped out at me from the screen on this glum rainy day! Butterick 6019 is just brimming with sunshine, holidays and a little vintage thrown in for good measure.
Version A has a full circular skirt, a mock crossover front, a wide halterneck strap and most interestingly 2 panels of shirring at the side back. The front is made up of an actual bra shape which comes in 3 cup sizes, a combined A/B plus a C and a D. As you would expect there are a few pieces which form the bra part but the instructions seem quite clear. The following 2 photos from the instructions show how the front band which gives the illusion of a cross over front is attached. 
The shirring on the back panels is made as follows. You can possibly read the instructions on my next photo but to sum this section up the elastic thread is wound onto your bobbin. Your machine is set to a long stitch and then you just sew in lines parallel to each other keeping the elasticized fabric as taute as possible. 
I have just learned a very useful tip here and that is - "If you want the shirring to pull in nice and tight (more than it already is) use a steam iron to lightly press each section. The moisture and the heat will shrivel up the elastic from below and pull in the fabric nicely" 
Some people, including myself, find inserting shirring elastic via this method quite tricky. Great for someone who is using this method constantly because you get used to how tight to wind the elastic on to the bobbin. For someone using it only occasionally, there may be a few hiccups in getting that tension just right. So in my humble opinion, my prefered method is to set your machine to a small/medium width zigzag stitch, lay the shirring elastic down on to the wrong side of your fabric and simply zigzag over it ensuring you don't catch any of the elastic! Practice first which width to use, you need the stitch to be wide enough so that the lengths of elastic can be pulled through these  'tunnels' but narrow enough to not look clumsy from the right side. Once all the rows of elastic have been stitched you then sew down one side with a straight stitch, this will capture and therefore enclose all the ends of elastic from one side of the panel, you can then pull all the ends from the opposite side and 'gather' them till they feel at the right size. Hope that makes sense.
The bodice is lined as you would expect from something so intricate, but the bit I like most is that instead of using interfacing for the cups, Batting is used. The bra sections are cut out in batting then the seam allowances are trimmed off. The cup is sewn together by putting the edges together, I find this much easier sewing by hand.
Because of how the cups are formed and the bodice of the dress is boned, there is every chance the smaller busted woman could wear the dress without a bra and feel comfortable.
These elasticated sides will give you a very snug fit with the freedom of movement you need if say you are at a wedding and you are wearing it all day and night.
So not the easiest of patterns, a little fiddly in parts but altogether very effective. 
The photo of view B is aimed at evening wear but worn with a little cropped jacket this would look so good for a wedding. The skirt (like the top) is a mock wrap over so when completed the whole front does look like a wrap over dress. The top is constructed exactly the same just the halterneck strap is left off. I love how they have used red in the pattern photo. Satin is suggested and for me Satin Back Crepe Fabric would be the answer with the shiny side as the right side, this fabric will drape beautifully through those pleats and folds of the dress.
Alternately the crepe side could be used for the main side and a feature made with the shiny side of the satin for the diagonal front band. Another feature could be made by adding a large diamante button to the waistline where the 'wrapover' meets. These Diamante Buttons would be ideal, see how the red would show through those little 'petals'.
The following photo shows a more solid Diamante Button, how fab would this look.
These are both shank buttons so try sewing the shank within that waistline seam, it will 'nestle' more into the folds of fabric and definitely resemble a brooch. Hey why not dig out that gorgeous diamante brooch you have hidden at the back of the drawer, this dress will give it a new lease of life!
And now on to my favourite for today (having just shown you the red satin and the diamante buttons I'm unsure now which is my favourite!!) but hey here it is.
I'm off again with the knitting patterns because I'm thinking why have half a handmade outfit when you can have a full me-made outfit!! 
So first on my list is the fabric, our Stretch Chambray Denim Fabric at an amazing £6.99 per mt. This is quite fine for a stretch chambray so would make up fab in this pattern. I must point out that stretch chambrays aren't ideal for a full circular skirt (just before anyone pulls me up on that point hehe) but as long as you realise that those side seams may 'dip' a little, you will be fine and hey are dipped hemlines not in fashion?!
So on to the Knitting Pattern which is by Stylecraft (no 8417) which is knit in Life DK Yarn
 
This is a fab little elbow length sleeve style. The sleeves and the top half of the cardigan are done in a lace pattern with the bottom left plain. From this you can assume it would be fine to knit the whole cardigan in stocking stitch for those who don't want to tackle a lace stitch. Some may think that a lace pattern on top of a flowery fabric is too much but I think the plain section of the cardigan separates the two and therefore actually enhances the whole outfit. The yarn I have chosen to go with it is Special DK shade 1822 which is described as Pistachio. It matches perfectly with the flower in the fabric and is so fresh looking. My choice of buttons are these Irregular Shaped Buttons from Dill, they are a little lighter than the yarn but when you look at the photo, for me it just bursts into life. Just look at that photo again!
If you prefer a more conventional button how about these Marble Effect Buttons. These are a little darker and don't stand out as much.
If you are feeling a little wacky, then our 'Selfmade Buttons' could be just up your street! Each button says Selfmade around the bottom of the button so you can tell the whole world you've made this fabulous outfit. Pity it doesn't say "Just out of interest I've made the dress as well" hehe. 
Next is a photo of all 3 buttons for you to see how they all look, I must admit my favourite has to be the first one. 
Just to throw a spanner in the works and for those who love pink, how about Stylecraft Special DK in 1827 Fuchsia Purple. This again looks stunning with this fabric. I've teamed this with these Square Buttons which I've shown on the yarn and then the fabric. What do you think?
Leave a comment and let me know which is your favourite - the green or the pink!
Until next time thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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Galaxy Fabric Espadrilles by Emma

Make a pair of shoes in an afternoon, from one fat quarter? If you consider espadrilles to be shoes, then that is almost exactly what I did. 

I was thrilled to be asked to review the Prym Espadrille Soles for Minerva Crafts. I've always fancied a pair of bespoke shoes, and this is a very affordable way of having some unique footwear.

The packaging contains a pair of soles, and tucked in the upper card fold is the pattern for standard espadrilles. The size of the soles is on the back of the packaging, in European notation. I'm a size 3, which is usually a 36, and yes, I know that's small for an adult, and yes, I do have problems finding shoes to fit. I was delighted therefore, to find that Prym cater for pixie feet too. 

However, the pattern describes 36 as an English 3 1/2, and sadly I'd agree with that. Please bear that in mind if you are selecting soles for yourself. I'm not deterred though. I loved making these, and I'll make more, for my normal footed family, and I'll work out a way to make them to fit me. 

The soles are coiled rope, with a rubber base. I was surprised and pleased to see that the base has quite good grips on it. 

You don't need much fabric to make the outer, and you could quite easily make an outfit with matching shoes. I used one fat quarter for both outer and lining to demonstrate that it could be done, but obviously you could use as many as you like!

The pattern DOES NOT include seam allowances. This gives you the flexibility to chose your own seam allowances, but do remember to add it! 

I traced the pattern, and added markings. You'll need two fronts and two soles (sides) for the outer fabric, and the same for the lining fabric. The front piece isn't symmetrical, and one of the front pieces for both fabrics needs to have the pattern reversed before cutting out. It's worth marking on the right side of the fabric which is the inner side, and which is the outer. It is possible to work out which is which, but I found this much quicker.

The Fabric I used is called 'Galaxy' and is a quilting weight, so I added lightweight interfacing to the outer pieces, to add a little extra stability. I left the seam margin without interfacing, to help reduce bulk in the seams.

If you're wondering, I did fussy cut the outer front pieces; a fat quarter was ample room. The pattern on the sheet I had goes up to 42, a U.K. size 8, and this would also fit inner and outer pieces on one fat quarter; maybe not if you fussy cut though!

The soles don't come with instructions, but instead direct one to the Prym website, where there is a PDF of clear instructions with photographs of the stages.

I chose to machine sew the parts that I could. This is very straightforward, and they turned easily. I sewed up the gap by hand, not my best work, but I don't think it's too obvious now the shoes are finished. These are the pieces sewn and pressed; I've put a pin in the outer side, but this isn't something you'd need to do if the lining was different to the outer. Don't they look good?

The next step is to pin the pieces to the sole. Start with the sole piece, then add the front.

I couldn't resist trying them on. I was able to walk in them, carefully, and although they are too big for me, I love them already. The material was bought for quilting, but I think it looks much better as shoes.

Pinning carefully is important at this stage, even if you can resist trying them on. The pieces have to be hand sewn onto the sole, and it is worth taking the time to angle the pins into the shoe so they don't catch you. The instructions advise to remove the front again, but I just removed the pins near the sole piece, and left the front mostly pinned in place.

Prym make an Espadrille Thread, but I used Embroidery Thread, as I had this already, and in quite a close colour match. I didn't separate the threads.

I have this useful set of Sewing Needles in my tool kit, and used the carpets/heavy work needle. It has a large eye, and is a sturdy needle with a sharp point. 

The fabric is sewn to the sole using blanket stitch. I found it a bit difficult to sew the front bit where it overlapped the back. I'm quite a slow hand stitcher, and this bit was done in front of the television, so the ‘afternoon make’ stretched into evening too. 

Once both parts are attached, you can slightly alter the fit by how far the front overlaps the back. It doesn't reduce it half a size though! Use back stitch for the side seam. I wondered about continuing the back stitch all the way across the front, as it looked quite decorative, and I might try this on another pair.

Don't they look cute peeping out under my jeans! 

They do slip off when I walk, but I’ve folded the back down, and wear them like that. I might try some elastic in the back, as this was loose even when I padded them out to make them my size.

Do I recommend them? Yes. They were fun to make, and I have plans to make some for other people, and for myself. There are other Espadrille Patterns for different shoes styles too that I'd like to try too. I’ve been asked for some with Christmas fabric outer, and fleece or plush lining; don't they sound comfortable?

Thanks for reading,

Emma @ Hot Tea on a Hot Day

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Making Your Own Espadrilles with Thimble Bee

Hi guys, 

Thimble Bee here again, and this time we are looking at Espadrille Soles. I don't know about you, but these bad boys have been showing up all over my instagram feed recently, so when I had the opportunity to review them, I jumped at the chance! They are espadrille soles by Prym, and I requested my size (size 3) and was  SO excited to get started. 

I started by watching a few videos and reading a few blogs on how to make espadrilles, as one thing that this packet lacks is instructions (like seriously). After watching a few videos I mustered up the courage to gather my supplies and get started. I chose a super vibrant red as I wanted them to be really summery and match my predominately blue wardrobe, and for the lining I had a few scraps of Rifle Paper Co fabric so I decided to use them, because who doesn't like shoes with a pretty lining? And that reminds me of one VERY good thing about these soles, they are the perfect project for using up scraps. 

So, by watching various vlogs and reading various blogs, I found out that the pattern pieces that come with the soles do not include the seam allowance, which means you have to trace them and add whatever seam allowance you desire. If I hadn't found this out from other sources then I would of been in a serious spot of bother. So remember people, add your seam allowances! Next, after I had traced my pieces I looked to the internet for some inspiration, and the types of espadrilles that really enticed me where the ones that had a tie around the ankle. So with the back piece I essentially just cut it down to just cover the ankle bit and then drafted some ties to attach to them, which I forgot to include in the picture (go me).

So after that I cut out all my pieces and began to assemble the shoe. 

I used the traditional blanket stitch to attach the pieces to the soles, and what I have got to say is that the assembly was very easy, and it was a nice change to be able to sew something in front of Netflix, but, as I think it's a big issue, there was still a lack of instructions on the packet, so most of what I did was taken from the internet. Anyway, I managed to finish them anyway, and I was SUPER happy with the look, maybe I made the ties too wide, but that's a minor detail. But, my world came crashing down as when I put them on, they were super big, so I decided to gift them to my mum, shes a size 4, they were still to big for her. So, I gave them to my sister, who is a size six, and they fit her?! I don't know whether it's because I changed the back, that they became big or whatever, but I compared them to my RTW espadrilles and the soles of the Prym shoes were still much larger. Nevertheless, I will try again, and try to make the shoe to look like the one on the packet, and see if that changes anything. 

So guys, my one bit of advice is; size down. They were beautiful shoes, and a great make, but far too big. 

That's it! Until next time. 

Thimble Bee

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#FabricFriday - Focus on Gingham

I flicked through a recent edition of 'Glamour' magazine and my eyes settled on a page just brimming with ginghams. Sure enough on typing Gingham Fabric into our search box here at Minerva I found there to be much more available from us than just the £3.99 poly/cotton version. This particular Fabric as you can see comes at an amazing price and is very good quality. I wish I had a pound (as they say) for every metre we've sold over the many years at Minerva for anything from school dresses to tablecloths. But now, what do we see, it is extremely fashionable. And so I'm going to select a few different gingham prints today to show you for #FabricFriday.
Just look at the pretty little gingham dress and pants on New Look Pattern 6520, although this is just a drawing of the dress you can see how the 1inch Gingham Fabric would look superb.
Throw in some white polycotton for the little collar and hey presto you have a gorgeous very reasonably priced dress for your little one. After all the speed they grow at it isn't worth paying too much for fabric.
For the growing up (fast) young lady how about New Look 6444
This is a fab romper, jumpsuit or dress. Look at version B, which teenager wouldn't like that? Especially made in 1/4inch Gingham Fabric.
I have just seen the most perfect fabric for New Look 6491.
The fabric is this Gingham Cotton Fabric. I know this is a clearance fabric but I cannot believe it is only £2.99 per mt and 60" wide. The quality is simply stunning and I can only recommend you take a serious look at this. If not for now then add some to your stash.
And now for something completely different, I have never seen a Gingham Cotton Voile Fabric. Well now I have, not only that but a Floral Burnout Gingham Voile!!!
My goodness, this is again, something else in fabrics and yet again (I can't believe this) just £2.99 per mt.
Something floaty or floaty sleeves maybe. Vogue 9239 has such sleeves and would look quite pretty in this. These sleeves are pretty much 'in' at the moment.
Or just something simple like New Look 6510, ideal for holidays and because this fabric is nice and fine it won't take much room up.
Happy Gingham Sewing and thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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Floral Satin Retro Dress by Carmen

Hello all! My name is Carmen and I have a sewing blog over at Carmen Sews.

I was so excited to team up with Minerva Crafts to create this guest project post for their website. For this project I wanted to create a simple summer project that is versatile and simple for anyone of all skill levels. I chose the Simplicity Sewing Pattern no 1059 which is a retro dress with pleats in the shoulders with an optional wrap tie at the waist.

I have had this pattern on make list for a while and was excited to make this dress with one of Minerva Crafts' beautiful choice of Dressmaking Fabrics.

I chose to use this Fabric which is a colorful floral satin.

This print is so perfect for summer and is lightweight enough to handle the summer heat in Florida where I live. 

The floral detail in this fabric is to die for and fits perfectly with my tropical climate. I would highly recommend this fabric if you are creating a light and easy summer frock such as a dress or light blouse and the bright pink hue of this fabric is so girly and right up my alley!

I used to be quite fearful of working with light and slippery fabrics; however, I feel that these types of fabrics become easy to use with practice and are worth the extra effort!

I chose to cut this fabric with a Rotary Cutter which decreases the chance of fabrics like satin or rayon from moving around or shifting while cutting.

This method will avoid inaccurate cutting of your pattern and will decrease the chance of making crucial mistakes that could ruin all of your hard work that you have put into making your garment. I would definitely recommend this method for anyone who is just beginning to venture into working with fabrics that are slippery and harder to handle that other fabrics. 

I also use pattern weights in this process to hold down the pattern and to further avoid any shifting.

I sewed this dress together making sure to hold the fabric gently to avoid any movement or shifting. 

While sewing with slippery fabrics I would also suggest pin pin pin! You can never use too many pins and please use as many as you feel comfortable with. This will ensure that no shifting will take place and that you will be left with a smooth seam without bunching which can sometimes occur with satin. 

Overall, this fabric was incredibly easy to work with and to handle. 

 

This pattern calls for the addition of a regular Dress Zip; however, I chose to use a transparent Invisible Zipper just because I love the look of invisible zippers, have never tried a transparent one and was curious on the results that I would achieve.

I use a regular zipper foot to insert my invisible zippers however, if you have an invisible zipper foot you can use that if you feel comfortable. As I used the regular zipper foot I made sure to pull back the teeth as I sewed down the tape. The result was great, however this same look can be achieved with any invisible zip of any colour.

I chose to make this pattern with the tie/scarf included in the pattern, I was afraid that if I did not use the tie I would look boxy in the dress and would not be happy with the result. I am very glad that I chose the tie option because the use of the tie shows off my figure in a flattering way.

I did shorten this dress about 3 inches because it was surprisingly long and I felt that this style of a dress is more flattering on me a tad shorter than the pattern calls for.

I love the result and I feel that this would be a go-to dress for a fun summer evening date night or a day by the pool.

Thank you so much to Minerva Crafts for collaborating with me and thank you all for reading this blog. I hope that you you all go out and create something wonderful for summer!

 

Have a beautiful day!

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Guest Post: Product Review of the New Prym Knitting Needles by Helen

When I first received these Knitting Needles from Minerva my initial thought was – they look like knitting needles what could be so special? But then I looked more closely and started to notice the features and my opinion quickly changed! The main features of these needles are the ergonomic triangular shape, the shaped tips, and the clips. Each of these features add to the benefits of these needles and make them really fun to knit with.

The triangular shape of the needle is supposedly what makes them an ergonomic needle – I can’t really say much about that as I didn’t really notice much different in the comfort level for my hands as I don’t often have problems with this but wat I can say about the shape is it does mean there is less friction and the yarn glides more easily on the needles. Generally, this is a good thing as it can increase knitting speed. However, I did start to worry about the possibility of the knitting sliding off the needles at one point.

This is where the second great feature comes into play. The needles have little bobbles on the tips which are actually really useful in preventing the knitting from sliding off the ends as it would have to “jump” over that little bump. I personally found this to be a really useful feature as there were a couple of times I thought I was about to drop a stitch and that little bump saved me! Normally a dropped stitch is not the end of the world and can easily be picked up again using a crochet hook but in fact, if it does happen with these needles (as I forced it to) it was actually a lot easier to pick up with these needles as the shaped tip gave some help in retrieving the dropped yarn.

When I took the needles along to my craft club to get some second opinions however there was some disagreement as to the brilliance of this feature. For many of us there were no complaints and the benefits of the shaped tip were clear. However, for some knitters, especially those who knit English-style (yarn held in the right hand) the bump at the tip did slow them down somewhat.

Finally, we come onto the third, and arguably the best, feature of these needles: the clip ends. This handy feature allows you to clip the two needles together, this locks the stitches on the needles and allows for easy transportation of your knitting safe in the knowledge that you are not going to lose those precious stitches off the ends of your needles. No more stuffing the ends of your needle into the ball of wall, or wrapping an elastic band around the ends of your needles. this simple solution if really great!

As well as the great features of these needles they are really quiet to knit with. I usually knit with metal needles and so the absence of the continuous clicking was quite nice. It was also noticeable how much warmer these feel in my hands which was a nice bonus (not too sure how I would feel about this in the summer though. In fact, the only problem I could find with the needles was the length, at either 35 or 40 cm they might be perfect for knitting a blanket or a very large jumper but for most projects they are much longer than you would need. However, in light of all the great features of these needles this is the least of your worries and at least it means you know whatever your project it will fit comfortably on the needles!

Thanks for reading my review of the Prym Ergonimic Knitting Needles from Prym!

Helen @ HSHandCrafts

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Product Review: Clover Pompom Makers by The Wardrobe Project

Hello everyone!

Summer is officially here and it’s all about spring cleaning, re-organizing and re-decorating. I love sprucing up my home with handmade bits and bobs, that add such a unique touch to the house.

This month I had the pleasure of trying out Clover’s Pom Pom Makers. They come in four different size packs (XS, S, L, XL), plus a lovely heart shaped one. I used sizes XS and S, they both include two pom pom makers with diameters 20mm-25mm(XS) and 35mm-45mm(S) correspondingly.

After a full afternoon of making different color pom poms, I realized that making pom poms is an addiction, that one can simply not beat. Once you start, there is no going back, so be careful or you will end up with a full bag of multicolored, multisized pom poms and the desire to embellish everything with pom poms!

Using the pom pom makers is really simple.

1.       Open the pom pom maker rings and start wrapping one side of the pom pom maker with the yarn. You can use one color or mix different ones together.

2.       Close the first side and continue wrapping  the second side of the maker with yarn

3.       Close the two sides together and cut yarn.

4.       Place your scissors between the rings and begin cutting all around the pom pom maker.

5.       Take a length of yarn and tie it in a knot in between the rings, securing the bundle together.  

6.        I like to tie a second knot, just to be safe.

7.       Open the rings and take the two sides apart to release your pom pom.

The only thing that’s left is to trim you pom pom to the desired shape. And you are done! Now the addiction begins.

All that’s left is to decide what you’re going to make with your new pom poms. I decided to make a pillow for my living room with mine. To make this you’ll need:

·         A pillow

·         Different color pom poms

·         Glue Gun

For this pillow, I used 30 pom poms in the 45mm(S) diameter  in black, grey, white and red colors and I decided to be a lazy girl. So I found a pillow I liked and started hot gluing my pom poms to the pillow, because you know, you has time to sew, when hot gluing is an option! You can be as creative as you like with how you arrange your pom poms. I choose to create a multicolored grid. Simple as that!

Here is your new pillow!

Thanks for reading!
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Simplicity 6346 Needlework Skirt by Emma

Hi everyone, I opted to review this lovely Needlecord Fabric for my latest make. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to make another of Simplicity Sewing Pattern no 6346! I've made it before in a yellow needlecord and it lends itself really well to this fabric. It's also really easy to put together. 

I had a real happy post day when the fabric arrived. It's a lovely muted colour and it has a floral pattern without being sickly. I think it has a real 1970s look; perfect for a button down skirt.

This needlecord is different from the one I have previously had, it's much more thick and substantial. It is also much softer so I was really looking forward to sewing it up.

It cuts really well, though it is heavily grained so you have to make sure you are really lining the grain line arrow of the pattern pieces up nice and straight. 

The pattern requires quite a bit of pressing in place, the button plackets literally just fold back on themselves so it was made much easier by how well the fabric pressed. 

I hacked the pattern very slightly by making the back piece 4 inches to big and inserting 2 pleats at the back waistband. I though it would add a nice shape to the skirt.

Tips and tricks:

I used a Denim Sewing Needle throughout as the material is quite thick and needed a bit of puncturing. 

The material is quite stretchy and as the grain line is quite deep I would interface any areas where you intend to use buttonholes.

Stay stitching is really important as there is more stretch than you would think for a thicker material like this and I think on more complex makes it would easily stretch out of place. 

I chose to use copper coloured Denim Buttons on this make, as I thought it would really suit the design of the skirt and the fabric. I had 10 in my stash and needed 6...I used all of them trying to get it right though. It was a very stressful experience! Well worth it though, I think and really sets this fabric off! 

The hem is curved and I thought the Needlecord would work against this but because of the stretch it has I was able to ease the nice chunky hem I chose to do. 

I gave my skirt a press and I was done. It's a really easy pattern, which I recommend, made even easier by lovely fabric which behaved so well!

My only criticism is that it's coming up to summer and I can't see myself wearing this much once it's warm but it can stay comfortably in my wardrobe as a great staple for with brown, black and cream. As you can see here, I wore it was a cream top, tights and brown boots and I think it's a great combination. The skirt really holds it's shape, thanks to the fabric and I think I was definitely right about the 70s thing. What do you think?

Thanks for reading!

Emma @ EmmandherMachine

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#PatternoftheWeek - Kwik Sew 4098

It always happens doesn't it. Here I am offering you a lovely summer dress pattern for our #PatternoftheWeek and it's blinking pouring down! Oh I hope that's not our summer over. Anyway fellow sewists think summer, think meadows, think pretty flowers and that is what I think of when I look at my choice of Sewing Pattern for you for this week. It is Kwik Sew 4098. See what I mean....
I have to say Kwik Sew Patterns are fast becoming up there amongst my favoured patterns. I love the white paper (don't ask me why) and I love their instructions. My only niggle would be the choice. I then think "how come" when the pattern book is as thick as other pattern books. When you start to delve into Kwik Sew patterns you realise they do a lot of more unusual patterns. A good quarter of the book is taken by 'Ellie Mae Designs' which are mostly for little girls dresses and crafts including bags. The pages just ooze colour and in my opinion are just beautiful patterns. Over half of the book is taken with these and even more craft and childrens. There is a decent choice of 'learn to sew' patterns with something for most people to start their sewing journey with. So to be fair that leaves under half the book for everything else. A few of their designs can leave a little to be desired and can even look a little old fashioned but hey when you find certain ones they  just jump out at you and are simply amazing. And remember a lot of the little girl patterns use a few fabrics and these can often be cut from fat quarters, therefore getting a fantastic variety.
On looking at the instructions for Kwik Sew patterns I nearly always pick up some kind of tip and this pattern is no exception. I sometimes like facings especially if you are using cotton, I think it gives a little more body and gives a nice crisp edge. However some patterns give you a neckline facing and also an armhole facing and these you have to overlap and hand sew down. Now this I do not like! I think it creates unnecessary bulk. On this design the neck facing is applied and look how the facing comes straight to the armholes. Take a look at the following 2 photos which show this and also the next stage where it is trimmed, clipped and turned to the inside.
After the side seams are sewn, bias binding is attached to the armholes. Look on the next photo how neat that looks. So you are getting the added body of the facing without the bulk.
Now for some fab fabrics. For the main part of the dress I have chosen our Floral Sprig Cotton Poplin Fabric which is £7.99 per mt. I have teamed this with one of our Quilting Fabrics now this can be purchased by a fat quarter or by the mt. You will need just half a mt or if you place a seam at the centre back of the belt you could actually only need a fat quarter. The following photo shoes these two fabrics together.
For chillier days or nights how about knitting a cardigan to top the dress. One of my favourite yarns is the Sublime Extra Fine Merino DK which as the name suggests is made from 100% merino wool. The Knitting Pattern I have chose is Sublime 6093...
Shade '20 Mocha' in the Knitting Yarn was my perfect choice. It is what I would call a donkey brown. This yarn is beautiful to knit with, it just glides through your fingers. 
I knew without looking which button I was going to choose. Our beautiful Two Toned Round Buttons. Quite a big button but I think it would look fantastic on the 'zigzag' front of this cardigan. However there are smaller sizes in this button if you prefer. 
Last but not least a photo of everything together. Cool or what!
Thanks for reading and don't forget to share your #MinervaMakes with us on Instagram...Vicki and I love seeing what youv'e been making!
Annette xx

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