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,
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 28th March 2016 by Annette
This is one of those Sewing Patterns
that has a basic shape with each version having just a slight variation. Pretty much all woven fabrics are mentioned in the suggested fabrics. So this to me means an all year round pattern.
And so my first choice is for version A. This could easily be worn as a pinafore so I would have no hesitation in recommending our embroidered stretch Needlecord Fabric
This is a stunning needlecord that is decorated in a pretty floral design that is couched onto the fabric. The RRP on this fabric was over £20 per metre but now whilst nearing the end of this gorgeous fabric we are happy to present it at just £2.99 per metre. The 'knots' on the shoulder are sewn separately and added after bias binding has been attached. Therefore you have the option of leaving these off if you want.
I love version B. This is the plainest version on this pattern and a lightweight Chambray Fabric
would be a perfect choice.
Our website description says of this Fabric
"This fabulous chambray denim has a beautifully soft and smooth finish. Chambray is a light weight denim and is great for making dresses, shirts, shorts, skirts, tops and more - it is such a versatile fabric. It would also be great to use in interiors! This beautiful range of chambray is from our luxury collection of designer fabrics. By feeling this fabric you can instantly see the quality. Available in beautiful shades of denim - a sky Blue, indigo Blue and charcoal grey."
The pockets are a handy addition on this version but obviously you could add the pockets to any of the versions. They have a very cute top edge in the shape of a sweetheart neckline! This is easily achieved by means of a facing.
Alternatively the top edge could just be hemmed under to form a straight edge.
Version C would look stunning in this Fabric
don't you think? The only addition to version C is two ties, one on each shoulder. These are attached at the under side of the shoulder seam then fastened into a knot which will show on the right side. I would probably add the pockets to this version but set myself the task of matching the pattern of the pockets to the main fabric. I love the sense of achievement you get when this looks absolutely perfect!!
We have lots and lots of cotton fabrics to choose from but in trying to keep similar to the pattern I decided on a lilac cotton poplin fabric
for version D.
Now the neckline changes on the last two versions. It appears to be a gathered neckline but it is in fact a drawstring threaded through a casing that is made with bias binding. 1/4 inch wide ribbon is used for the drawstring but you could use a narrow cord or even a narrow round elastic. I've left my favourite till last again. Just look at this Cotton Lawn Fabric
I have already made a top in this fabric last year for my holiday but I would have no hesitation in using it again. I can say from experience it washes like a dream and is so beautiful to handle when working with it. There is the addition of sleeves on this version which i must admit I am quite drawn to. All in all I'm very happy with my choice of pattern of the week
. It is a very reasonable priced pattern at any time but at half price for this week I think it is a wise choice to keep in your stash of sewing patterns. Yes I have a big stash too!!
Must dash, I'm off to choose next weeks pattern of the week :)
Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 25th March 2016 by Annette
Is that sunshine I see out the window? Yes it is. Hope there's no more snow!! It feels like fabrics are coming out my ears at the moment. We have so many new fabrics arriving here at Minerva Fabrics on a daily basis. It's mind boggling!! I thought this week I would look at some flowery fabrics And yes when I saw the sun shining I thought good idea. This first fabric is a beautiful quality cotton poplin fabric
featuring a pretty floral outline design.
The flowers are 'drawn' in white on a coloured background. It is a medium weight with a soft finish, this fabric is perfect for making dresses, tops, skirts and ideal for incorporating into your patchwork quilting designs. It comes in two lovely colourways but my personal favourite is the coral. There are so many dress patterns where you could use this fabric but one that really stands out to me is Vogue Pattern
How lovely is that neckline? Beautiful beautiful summer dress or thinking ahead it would also make a gorgeous evening dress. I love how the top of the dress is constructed. The following photo gives you an idea of the construction.
The next photo is showing both fabric and pattern together.
There is a little bit of boning to go in this dress and that is two pieces in the side seams and two small pieces running up the front So if you've never used boning before but fancy having a go then this could be an ideal pattern for you. Although the notions on the pattern just say how much boning you need (which you could use any). when you get to the instructions they are showing covered boning
. It is a little more expensive than other bonings but boy does it save you time and in my experience is much easier.
I think the next Fabric
is stunning and the following is our description on our website;
"This beautiful Tapestry Floral print Jardin fabric is a beautiful quality stretch cotton sateen. The design is so unusual. From a distance is looks like an ordinary, very lovely floral print, but when you look closely you can see the flower design is made up from thousands and thousands of what look like tiny tapestry stitches. It adds a really interesting edge to a traditional print fabric. This is a woven fabric made from cotton with 3% spandex. The spandex content makes this fabric stretch across the width, resulting in a fantastic easy to sew, easy to care for and really versatile fabric. You can make so many different styles with this fabric. The stretch gives it the added advantage when making fitted styles, because it is easier to get a great fit with a fabric that has a little stretch, as it is much more forgiving. You could make trousers, skirts, dresses, tops, lightweight jackets, suits, waistcoats, shorts, jumpsuits...the list goes on! Its sateen finish gives this fabric a much more expensive look than its reasonable price tag! Those who try this fabric almost always use it again!"
This fabric would look fab made in the above pattern but Butterick Pattern
6240 has caught my eye.
You can immediately see which design I am seeing made up in this fabric. Version C!!
However the only differences between the three versions are the sleeves - short, long or sleeveless and the hemline. There is a slight error I've found on the pattern description and that is with the hemlines. The pattern front shows version A with a straight panelled skirt, version B has a draped front straight hem and version C has the draped front but with a dropped hemline. When looking at the instruction sheet however it shows all three versions with a draped front and a dropped hemline.
Having looked through the instructions all versions are made with a panelled skirt. The overlay does have a dropped hemline so I think it is version B that is shown wrong. I'm sure this will be rectified shortly by Butterick.
I've saved version B till last. This Fabric
has been on my favourites list for a while and I think it would look brilliant. Very similar to version B.
Until next time fellow sewists.