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Pattern of the Week - New Look 6723

Hi everyone. Where has that sunshine gone? Where we are in Darwen, Lancashire we had two days of lovely sunshine and then wham back to rain. Apparently we are in line for a fantastic summer so I don't know about you but on hearing this it does make me start planning my summer wardrobe. There are some really pretty summer dress sewing patterns around at the moment, one such pattern is New Look 6723. And so I would like to offer you this as my choice for pattern of the week thus half price this week only.
I was saving this pattern for September time because when I look at the main photo, I immediately think Audrey Hepburn (as most people do) and Christmas parties. Then I thought why wait till September, it is such a pretty dress with a sweetheart or a boat neckline and a choice of sleeveless, 3/4 sleeves or the prettiest puff sleeves ever! (shown in white/black with a sweetheart neckline).
The 'Dorothy Hepburn' dress is such a classic dress and my favourite fabric for this would be our Taffeta Fabric, of course in black, with a diamante buckle used on the belt. Take note of the little clutch bag, how nice is that. You could make a little bow and attach the same buckle as on the belt.
Now black is not everybody's cup of tea, so if there isn't a colour you like in the other 15 colours available in the taffeta then how about having a look at this fabric. This is a taffeta with a swirl flock print on the fabric. It comes in brown and ivory or how about half and half!   
I couldn't resist showing you this next fabric. This is a beautifully soft cotton canvas fabric and has a great vintage style dressmaking themed print. Any dressmaker who loves pink is sure to fall in love with this fabric! It is described as a canvas which although is hard wearing and durable, is also soft and has a small amount of drape. Shame it only comes in pink but hey what a stunning shade of pink. 
I think Version D would be perfect for a wedding. My lovely sister-in-law Tracey wore a very similar looking dress to my Daughter Vicki's wedding last July (where has 11 months gone!) She looked so nice and I think the style has stuck in my mind since then! Now I've been looking at this fabric...
This stretch cotton sateen dressmaking fabric is the most beautiful quality with a satin gloss finish. It has a soft and smooth finish and the stretch element will make this fabric a dream to sew and very comfortable to wear. The design is a soft abstract print which is very pretty. This same style could be made out of a viscose or a viscose mix fabric. How about this fabric...
This is an Abstract Print viscose fabric and is so soft and drapey. The print is bright and cheerful and is sure to add a splash of colour to your wardrobe. Obviously the skirt of the dress is not going to 'stick out' as much but if you like the idea of a much softer fabric and still want a full looking skirt, you could always make a net underskirt (you may already have one).
How pretty are spots. (I'm using the word 'pretty' a lot this week aren't I?) I do love black spots on a white background and so my favourite for this week is this cotton poplin fabric. And I would make it just like version C.
I couldn't decide between this fabric and this nautical motif print cotton poplin fabric which I think is so sweet. The print is made up of tiny nautical motifs and only just missed being my favourite because I'd aimed at getting a black and white fabric and this has little hints of red in it. Now I don't know which I like best! What do you think? I added a piece of red ribbon to the photo to resemble a red belt, I think it could look pretty good. Remember as well, this fabric would be suitable for quilting, so save your bits!!
I hope you like what I've shown you this week and remember... "we are not fabric hoarders we simply need a bigger craft room" haha!
Thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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Fabric Friday - Annette's Picks

Dear friends, Thank you so much for your kind messages regarding my back. There is a little improvement every day so I am feeling a somewhat better this week. My first choice of fabric this week is a polycotton at just £2.99 per metre.
It comes in 3 gorgeous colours but for the purpose of my choice of pattern (which is McCalls 6883), I am showing you the white.
How uncanny is the similarity between my fabric choice and the one used for version C. 
This version has a full back and little raglan sleeves. There is a separate band around the hemline which is sewn double therefore giving a more solid look to this otherwise slightly see-through fabric. It matches the neckline which is also sewn double. And so there is a slip to go under version C if required, this is version D. For this slip crepe de chine is recommended and because the pieces are cut on the bias it will hang beautifully over the hips. My favourite though would be to use Burda 6964 and use our white stretch lining fabric. This would really hug your figure and be antistatic.
Another alternative for this very reasonable price fabric would be to make a beach dress for over your favourite bikini. Versions A and B are both worth a mention here because they both have a halterneck effect with two thin straps coming from the neckband to the back edge of the dress, this edge being elasticated.
Now my next fabric was only mentioned by yours truly a few weeks ago in a blog post but I just can't help mentioning it again because I have found the perfect pattern!! Butterick 6320 would be perfect for this fabric.
Doesn't that look fantastic!!
Now the pattern does suggest crepe or satin fabrics and I am recommending a cotton but it is quite a fine cotton and because the pattern is quite fitted with a zip fastening up the back I cannot see any reason to not make this jumpsuit in this fabric.
Last but not least how about this next fabric Comic Strip Fabric;
What I love about this fabric is - it's a jersey fabric made from 95% cotton and 5% spandex. Absolutely perfect for some casual around the house trousers/pyjamas. Or how about a cosy onesie. This next pattern covers both and even a casual top in sizes 29.5" chest right up to 44" chest. As I said perfect pyjamas or onesie!! Probably more suitable for a girl because there is a reasonable amount of pink in the design. 
The pattern is McCalls 6251;
Thanks for reading.
Annette xx
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#PatternoftheWeek - McCalls 7122

I keep getting asked for something easy in jersey fabric. Well I don't think you could get easier than this pattern, McCalls 7122. So I am offering this to you as #PatternoftheWeek at 50% off for one week only!
This is a 'learn to sew for fun' pattern, especially designed for the beginner with easy to follow instructions and basic sewing tips. It offers information on pattern markings, basic adjustments, a very good section on the layouts for a pattern (guess what, it advises you to wash your fabric first, what am I always telling you haha) and ways of transfering markings on to the fabric.
 Raglan seams are used on the top and dress and sewn with a double row of stitching.
Alternatively you could use a stretch stitch (no way would I be without mine). Most machines today offer a version of this stitch and I can only say it is invaluable. The neck binding is very easy as is the continuous sleeve and side seam.
The leggings are ultra easy in that they have no side seams just the crotch seam and the inside leg seam, as you can see from the following photo.
I'm hoping you'll agree I've chosen some interesting fabrics that will show this pattern at it's best. First up today is this Floral Jersey Fabric...
Our website description is as follows "This luxury knitted fabric from the Cotswald collection is a gorgeous soft and drapey fabric with some body. This pretty 'Vintage-Style Floral' design is a lovely traditional floral print with so much detail and colours from a select palette. It is a medium weight with  a good amount of stretch in all directions and would be well suited to sewing patterns that require an all way stretch fabric. It has a very smooth, soft and cozy texture and would be lovely to wear against your skin. It is washable by either hand or machine. Ideal for making tops, skirts and dresses.(As I keep saying "wash first"). Although it is a dark fabric the flowers stand out nice and bright, as the description says it has a vintage look to it. I love that it has 4% spandex along with the 96% polyester. 
While we are talking flowery jersey's how about this fabric...
This fabric is a blend of viscose and lycra and is described as a stunning jersey fabric that is just bursting with colour! Two gorgeous colours as well at just £5.99 per mt.
 Our eyes are always drawn to the main photo on the front of a pattern, this one being no exception but it is a good idea to take in ideas from the drawings. Top A could be made up numerous times for yourself and I could write forever listing suitable jersey fabrics that would take you from daywear, with jeans, to evening wear with lots of sequins (just to say you need a pattern with as little seams as possible when sewing a sequined fabric, so yes this pattern fits the bill, as long as it is stretchy sequined fabric). 
Back to what I am showing you today - the next fabric is a scuba bodycon stretch jersey with a fabulous stretch-recovery and is perfect for making fitted, body hugging garments. The design is a lovely velour print in a sort of aztec design which is very soft to touch. Most of the stretch is in the width of the fabric (all 60inch of it) so the striped design will be going across the body.
My old favourite ponte roma fabric is jumping out at me for the dress. I think it would look pretty good in a plain fabric. This next photo is my favourite colour, a vibrant turquoise.
My absolute favourite is this brand new ponte roma fabric. The web description is "This is such a beautiful flowery ponte roma fabric! It has a lovely soft finish and is such a versatile fabric you can use it to make tops, jackets, skirts, dresses and pants. We love the floral print which has lots of colour, but set against the grey background is still reasonably subtle and not too bright." The last sentence describes it perfectly. One minute you think it has lots of colour and the next you think subtle, very subtle.
And a close up of this fabric...
I couldn't leave out a suggestion for the leggings! I thought this jersey fabric would look pretty good. It is described as follows "What a fabulous jersey dressmaking fabric! This double jersey is a good weight but is still very stretchy in all directions. The design features navy blue palm trees against a stripey background in shades of white, royal and grey. It is striking, yet subtle at the same time". My immediate thoughts are this is perfect for these leggings because they have no side seam so therefore the 'pattern' will 'travel' round the legs. These would be perfect for traveling in (yes I'm thinking about my holidays!) especially if you were going somewhere with palm trees haha! 
Hope this has given you some ideas and thanks for reading.
Annette xx
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#FabricFriday - Just Arrived Fabrics

Hello everyone. Here I am typing this blog post, perched on my bed at home in a peculiar manner having hurt my back! I am typing with one finger but even though it is taking some time I am determined to make sure you see some of this weeks new fabrics
If my back hadn't been playing up, my blog this week would have started with "I am surrounded by new fabrics!". Well I'm not, I'm stuck in bed with my laptop and painkillers! So to take my mind off the pain (come on, say ahh) I've been looking through all our lovely new fabrics on our fabulous Minerva Crafts website. I wish I could show and talk about them all here today but you would be reading for the next 2 weeks or more! 
I'm not sure if you know this but all our latest fabrics now feature a video showing you how the fabric moves, shows the wrong side as well as the right side of the fabric, shows the amount of stretch if a jersey fabric, how it handles in general and even gives you a good idea of the size of the pattern design if applicable. These individual video's feature on our website alongside each fabric accordingly. You will be pleasantly surprised how informative they are when buying on-line. 
One such fabric is our chenille texture stripe stretch woven suiting dress fabric;
This stunning dressmaking fabric has a beautiful chenille type texture that is lovely and soft. This woven fabric has 4% spandex which gives the fabric some stretch down the length. The chenille pattern is striped, with a grey smooth fabric woven in between. This clever design almost gives an optical illusion and is very unusual! So unusual is this fabric that I would recommend a rather plain pattern. I feel nothing should be taken away from the visual effect of this design. The pattern I have chosen for it is Burda 6890;
Now this pattern is an excellent one to have in your stash so I have no hesitation in recommending it to you. It has a fairly high round neckline which although I think looks very elegant (and will show more of this fabric off) it could be lowered quite easily. You have a choice of sleeveless, 3/4 or long sleeves, easily adapted for short, a simple split at the back hemline and darts at the bust and waistline. Remember these waist type of darts can be sewn wider or narrower in order to fit better. They can even be left out altogether if required. The dress is lined which is needed if you are making it in a lace fabric as version C would suggest. The pattern pieces it gives for the interfacing can be used as the facings so no problem if you don't want to line it. I love how the neckline has been finished where the top of the zip is, can't show you though like I normally do but take it from me it's pretty good.
This next fabric is beyond beautiful, my favourite for this week! It is a 100% linen fabric with a floral print. It is described as follows "A stunning floral print linen from Italy. This gorgeous dressmaking fabric is a lovely weight and hangs and drapes beautifully." A little more expensive at £17.99 per mt but in my opinion well worth every penny. Just my colours!
My choice of pattern for this fabric is Vogue 9167
Unsuitable for obvious diagonal fabrics but extremely suitable for this fabric. It has princess seams, a lined bodice and variations on the skirt.  My favourite though is the fitting - it has 4 different cup sizes. A through to D. Now I don't know if you have used these different cup patterns before but please don't assume that you will be say a B cup just because you take a B cup in a bra. Make sure you follow the instructions for cup sizes, very easy, just do it! I hope to share with you soon more info on pattern sizes for those unsure, for now make sure you measure yourself and compare with pattern.
My last choice for this week is our floral print cotton voile fabric which also comes in two more colourways which are Green/Purple and Lilac/Pink;
This is so floaty and pretty and would look lovely in a floaty dress or a soft flowing top. If you were making a dress it would be advisable to line it with it being quite sheer. Now although many many patterns would look fab in this floaty fabric I've chosen one that would be fantastic if you are attending a wedding this year or more importantly Mother of the Bride or Groom! It is New Look 6270;
So feminine and so easy!
And now my bad back and I will finish for today with this saying "I have all the fabric I need" said no seamstress ever. Haha I can relate to that, can you?
Thanks for your time,
Annette xx
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Felted Jacket

Well as promised I'm having a go at Needle Felting on a garment. The pattern I chose is Vogue 8430 (which is on half price sale at the moment!) 
You may remember me talking about this pattern in a previous blog post where I was suggesting patterns for our washable wool fabric, which as I mentioned at the time has no wool in it, hence the 'easy wash' .
The more I looked at this pattern, and all the different colourways I gave, the more I wanted to actually make it. And so here I am using the brown washable wool, Sirdar Bouffle in shade 723 and Trimits Natural Roving in Cream Beige.
I decided I would just cut out one piece (that needed felting on) to start with, just in case I hated doing it or indeed made a complete mess of it!! 
 
I thought the best way would be to place a pin at all the points on the pattern which were ends of lines, where the lines crossed and centre of the circles. I took extra care checking each line and circle against my pattern piece and hey the next photo is the result. Lets face it you wouldn't leave it too long looking like it did in the above photo, so I immediately drew my lines and circles using a Clover Quilting Pencil and a ruler. All ready to start felting!!
At first I used a single point felting needle to secure the yarn. This was done roughly every centimetre along the length of the yarn. At this point it can be removed very easily and re-positioned if required. The more you 'needle' over the length of yarn, the yarn becomes more 'fused' into the fabric. The pattern suggests to keep turning the fabric over and felt from the wrong side until the yarns are firmly blended. I found I didn't need to do this because I had felted it so much from the right side! I so enjoyed it. Part way through my first piece I changed to this felting tool by Clover which is called a Pen style needle felting tool, this you can use with either 1, 2 or 3 needles. It does say in the instructions to use 2 needles when felting a line, as I am now with the yarn. I am actually using all 3, I suppose this is ok because of the width of the yarn. 
I felted all the vertical lines first, followed by the horizontal lines and last of all I attempted the circles. I practiced first on spare fabric
I used the 3 tool for this also and then when the circle was complete I I used a 7 needle tool (for speed) being careful not to let the needles go beyond the edge of the roving yarn. If it does go beyond the yarn I found there could be prick marks on the brown fabric and this did not look good. So careful does it! I have both a brush and a foam pad for felting on but for this project I found the foam pad more than suitable. The circles were easier to do than I imagined once I got into it. You start at the centre and wind the roving yarn around. Again securing it to start with. 
The felted design is different on all 3 pieces, these being the right front, the left front and the back.
Now on to the dressmaking part. This is pretty much straightforward, with there only being shoulder seams, side seams, sleeve seams, a long dart in the sleeves and actually sewing in the sleeves. 
Now what to do with the edges!!
On the pattern itself, ready felted wool fabric has been used to make the jacket out of and it doesn't fray. Oops!!!! mine does fray. Now there are no facings on this pattern, indeed no seam allowances on the edges at all because if you use the 'correct fabric' they aren't needed. I didn't look through my instructions properly did I? (and there's me forever preaching to you about always reading through them haha). So yes I've boobed but hey ho lets have a look at what my options now are. 
My first thought was to use bias-binding but I couldn't find an exact match to the brown nor could I find a contrast that I really loved, something that would have blended with either the Sirdar Bouffle or the roving yarn. My next idea was to use the Sirdar Bouffle and work a blanket stitch all around the edges. I tried to do it using a chenille needle but the yarn just did not want to be pulled through this tightly woven fabric. I then decided to attach the yarn using a zigzag stitch on my machine. After trying a few different stitches I realised the thread was always going to show. I wasn't happy with that so what to do now? 
And then an idea hit me!! Felt it on. I wasn't happy with it at first till I realised it would be better felting it on the wrong side too, double the work!! This is the first sleeve done. What do you think? I'll give you my opinion when I've done a bit more (I don't want to speak too soon).
Guess what I've only gone and broke all 3 needles in one 'prod'! Do any of you lovely experienced felters out there have any tips for a beginner like me? I seem to have done so much on my jacket and then all of a sudden 'snap'. Maybe I was getting too 'cocky'! So when getting myself some new felting needles, I came across Clover Speed Needle Refills. With these the 'barbs' are more concentrated at the tip of the needle, so the felting yarn can be condensed quickly with shorter strokes. Now there are only 2 needles per pack so I needed two packs. Although it's working out more expensive, I'm finding it much quicker and lets face it that's an advantage with how much work I've set myself! 
Oh dear, I've spoken too soon, here goes another oop's. I've just read that if using the Pen style needle felting tool with these speed needles, it is recommended to use just 1 needle and here I am using all 3!! Well so far so good but we shall see!!
'Update' I've broken 3 more needles so I am left with just 1 needle out of my 2 packets. So I'm going to carry on with 1 needle as advised! Success for a while but I've now broken my last one. Please, please please fellow felters, have you any tips to share with me. I'm gonna be pulling my hair out in a minute so I'm off to make a cup of tea!
Haha well I'm back, I may have solved the problem of 'how many felting needles can be broken in just one session' saga. (It's surprising how a cup of tea helps). First of all it is very easy to start holding your needle on a slant, it must be held upright. I also realised that I wasn't re-placing the 'guard' over the needles!! On the following 2 photo's look at the length of the needles without the guard on compared to with the guard on. No wonder I was breaking the needles!! 
I'm particularly pleased with how good the felting looks on these corners...
It really emphasizes the split level hem. I hope you like my jacket, I absolutely love it. 
I love it that much I am now thinking of knitting or crocheting a jumper to go under the jacket in the Sirdar Bouffle, a long one so I'll get a fabulous layered effect. The patterns I have in mind are this sirdar knitting pattern or this sirdar crochet pattern. Either would have to be worked longer so will definitely take one ball extra, possibly two. I'll let you know if I do make it.
So after an expensive lesson learned, I'll say tara till next time.
Thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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#PatternoftheWeek - New Look 6013

I am pleased to offer you New Look 6013 at 50% off the RRP for this weeks #patternoftheweek
Now this pattern has been around for some time and I wish I had a £1 for every time a customer has asked for this same fabric! Unfortunately we've never had this fabric, I think it was only available in America. But now we have found this beautiful, stunning, fantastic (need I go on) stretch cotton fabric. There is just the one colourway but hey who needs more choice when a fabric looks like this! It is simply stunning (I know I'm using the same words again, I can't help it). I have teamed it with our crisp 100% linen fabric at just £6.99 per mt.
I love the shape of this jacket. It can be dressed up, as in the pattern or dressed down to wear with jeans and a t-shirt. The jacket comes as either long sleeves, short sleeves (these have a lovely little pleat on the shoulder line) or sleeveless which is shown on the pattern in a dog-tooth check. Check out our new stretch cotton dog-tooth (more on this at a later date).
Now the style of the dress has to be a favourite of mine. It is quite a classic style with there being bust darts and front and back waistline darts. Incidently this could easily be made into a top to be worn with the trousers and under the jacket. What makes it one of my favourite styles more than anything though is the raglan sleeves.
These tend to give a lovely fit anyway but I find it gives two more easy places where you can fit the dress. The front and the back sleeve fit very easily into the armhole of the dress. This can be much easier than sewing in a set-in sleeve. 
The trousers are exceptionally easy with just a turned down band to form a casing, elastic threaded through the casing and last a length of cord threaded through the two previously sewn buttonholes.
I've got to throw in a few more ideas for this outfit, lets face it there will be thousands. This next fabric for me was a close contender for this pattern earlier in the year and at just £6.99 per mt is a good price. I have teamed this with blades linen fabric (yes one of my favourites again) but remember either linen will go well with either dress fabric. 
This next combination is made up of this floral fabric which is a beautiful directional floral print polyester that will be very easy to care for and our linen look cotton fabric in Khaki (I chose Khaki because if you look closely at my following photo you will see the colour Khaki at the base of most of the flowers within the design). This linen look cotton is fresh and crisp and perfect for your summer wardrobe. Keep cool in the heat in 100% cotton, with a texture that resembles linen. This non-stretch fabric is available in lots of colours, is machine washable and oh so versatile.
Last but not least I have gone for something a little different and chosen this Fabric. This stunning fabric has a charming woodland sketch design printed on a cotton poplin base and at just £9.99 per mt I think is an excellent buy, something really different. Now lets face it I could easily find an ivory/cream or a grey/black to go with this fabric for the jacket but I wanted to present something that had the wow factor without taking over from the dress fabric. And so I chose the Chartreuse colour in our linen look cotton fabric again. This has the WOW factor and X factor all rolled into one!! What do you think?
Until next time, thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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#FabricFriday - Fabrics for Girls Summer Dresses

Little girl's summer dresses! I thought this week I could suggest some 'pretty' fabrics for the girly little girls. My eldest daughter Alison is expecting a little girl in 5 weeks so although I won't be making her any of the patterns I'm showing you today, my mind is working overtime as to what I will be making her in the future. I'll start with an easy one. The title gives it away "It's so Easy" by Simplicity no 8077.
I am concentrating on the dress on the right with short sleeves. The dress on the left is not doing this pattern any favours but to be fair I think it is just the way the model is stood. The dress appears to be 'hanging' off her but considering the pattern pieces are just the same for either dress, the difference just being the length of the sleeves, I think it is safe to say you would be fine sewing the long sleeve version! Our description of my first choice of fabric for this week is - "This beautiful quality summery cotton poplin fabric has a really funky, bright and colourful floral design printed along the surface. The pattern is very busy with the largest flower measuring approx 45mm" This is a new fabric in stock, £8.99 per mt and I am sure you will agree it is beautiful and little girls will love it.
What to put with it for the band around the bottom? I am immediately drawn to our plain cotton poplin fabric. The quality is superb, it is continually a best seller for us and at £5.99 per mt you can see why. 
I decided to choose a small patterned fabric as well just to give an alternative to the above.  As I walked along the rows (and rows!) of quilting fabrics here at Minerva, my eye was drawn to this Timeless Treasures Fabric which comes in 13 fab colours.
On the instructions it gives you the option of adding some lace on the edge of the sleeves. I think this would look quite pretty. I chose this crochet effect cotton lace trim at just 89p per metre, its so pretty!
Lots of patterns these days give you the instructions for an invisible or concealed zip which are fantastic but just sometimes it's nice to be able to insert an 'ordinary' zip fastening. I like how they have sewn the neck facing on first then attached the zip. I'm pretty sure I've used this method before, a while ago. I must try it again. 
Last but not least for this pattern I am showing you the sleeve diagram. The long sleeves are gathered across the sleeve head and the short sleeves have a little pleat at shoulder level.
I just love the subtleness (is that a word?) in this next fabric. This is from the Michael Miller range of quilting fabrics. I have chosen the colour called 'Sunny' and just love how it is two shades of yellow rather than say yellow dots on white background or the other way round. I am showing it with our cotton poplin fabric in orange and alongside Simplicity 8104 which is a re-print of a much earlier pattern.
This is probably from the 60's or early 70's and the original is shown in the top right hand corner of the current pattern.
As you can see this is a reversible wrap around dress with only 3 pattern pieces and one of these is for the tie's at the front. There is no zip, no buttons and no snap fasteners. The following photo shows you the line art of the dress and how it's constructed. The possibilities for this dress are endless. 
I would have been ending this post now had I not just seen this Simplicity Pattern 8102
It was the bag that jumped out at me but then I spotted the red/blue/white dress. The simplicity of this dress is amazing, especially when put next to the bag. Just think of the combinations of colours or designs with a tiny scrap for the pocket.
My photo shows cotton poplin but you could use polycotton fabric (cheap and cheerful). The pocket could be made from a fat quarter and just a last minute thought you could cut the facings from the fat quarter and then when you tie the shoulders the contrast will show. 
Happy sewing and thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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Sweatshirt Top

Hi everybody, just a quick post today. My Grand-daughter Jess has wanted me to make her this top since before Christmas would you believe. What with one thing and another, mainly 'getting into' my #FabricFridays and #Patternoftheweek posts, I am only now making it, much to her relief. (I think she wants to wear it tonight). The pattern she chose is Burda 6850 version A. She'll be wearing it with her skinny jeans size 'tiny' (lucky thing).
Here at Minerva we now have in stock a fabulous quality sweatshirt fabric and Jess has chose the lighter of the two greys. The inside is so snuggly that she can't wait to wear it. And so, what can I say about sewing this garment, other than it is so easy. There is a seam down the back, leaving an opening at the top. This is marked on the pattern piece.
 After sewing the shoulder and under arm/side seams, these will be pressed open.
I wish at this point I had an overlocker (I'm getting one soon - any advise on which one to get would be greatly appreciated!) Next I'm attaching the neck facing.
This seam is trimmed down to approx 1/4 inch which then you need to snip. I have found the perfect scissors for snipping (these are certainly not a necessity, your ordinary shears will do the job just as good as long as they are nice and sharp at the tips). These are Fiskars F9476 Comfort grip micro tip scissors and they have really short blades and oversized handles. This combination gives you exceptional control especially when cutting or snipping through bulky fabrics. All Fiskars products for dressmaking and crafts are renowned for their functionality and cutting-edge design. For this reason fiskars scissors stand out from the rest due to the quality. These are the type of additional scissors you could get when you feel like treating yourself or you have a birthday coming up!
After turning the facing to the right side and pressing, I am quite pleased with the result.
After the neckline there is the hem at the bottom and the turn back cuff on the sleeve edge. A very deep hem is turned under on the sleeve and this is then turned back on itself to form a cuff. No separate pieces so easy peasy. 
For the hem, the pattern suggests either hand sewing or machining. I have chose the latter, for speed more that anything (Jess has just popped her head round the door to see if it will be ready in time for tonight) and also I can use my duck-billed scissors to trim the hem on the inside. These are known as Applique Embroidery scissors and the unusual shape is described as "helps to prevent accidental damage to the material or applique". Here at Minerva we have two makes - Madeira Scissors and Klasse Scissors. I have the latter which are a little cheaper at £14.99
It does feel much safer to trim right next to the edge
So one suited Grand-daughter. Hope you like the photo's...
And then of course some silly ones... Jess is such a poser haha!
And a final picture of us being silly together!
Thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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#PatternoftheWeek - Vogue 1492

You know when you see a pattern and for some reason you just can't get it out of your head. This has happened to me with Vogue 1492...
I intend to start making some boxy tops like this one (that's when I lose this stone that isn't happening at the moment haha). The cropped pants, which to me are virtually cullotte's, I haven't worn since the early 90's when they had a bit of a comeback (either that or I was completely out of fashion!).
As I say this pattern keeps jumping out at me so I've decided to offer it to you as this weeks pattern of the week with 50% off.
It is designed by Donna Karen of New York and although a famous designer for many years, she has designed for Vogue sewing patterns for some time now. See her collection of patterns here, they are wonderful. As a designer Donna Karen was initially known for designing seven easy pieces that could be mixed and matched therefore making for a fully integrated wardrobe. Although she designs separates for Vogue, she also designs dresses but everything just has that little twist on what you would term conventional. With this pattern she has introduced a 'wavy' hemline on the boxy top under which there is a voile or chiffon panel. I love this layered look. Below is the line art off the pattern. Here you can see the wavy edge;
I have tried with my first group of fabrics to replicate the pattern somewhat.
The black and ivory fabric is a gorgeous quality polyester fabric from the 'Decadence' collection. It is beautifully soft, with a lovely drape, handle and weight, simply perfect for this top and at just £9.99 is reasonably priced. Next is the chiffon fabric. I have chosen the Japanese Chiffon because it is said to be a little easier to sew than other chiffons but because you only need a little for this garment I wouldn't worry too much which one you use as there isn't much sewing with it. Last but not least on this collection I have chosen our Satin Back Crepe Fabric in champagne for the cullotte come cropped pants! For these I would certainly use the crepe side as the right side and although satin back crepe can be rather slippy to sew, I do think it would be worthwhile persevering for these. 
Now having said that it starts getting obvious that this pattern is certainly for the more experienced sewer. When reading through the instructions the pockets are harder or should I say there's more work involved. As you can see from the line art photo there is a fly zipper closing, also belt carriers on a shaped waistband, so again this all involves more work. If you are not too experienced at sewing but fancy 'having a go' at fly fastenings etc why not choose a woven fabric such as linen. My next thought is 'do you really need the wavy edge?' Because the fabric is very 'busy' you can't actually see the waves on the front of the pattern, only on the line-art. It would be so easy just to trim this edge straight and turn under a little hem. Another thought is just have the boxy top without the chiffon underlay. Lots of possibilities!
Just a few more fabrics that would look fab with this pattern are;
This microfibre fabric is new in this week and is quite bright and cheerful looking and at just £5.99 per mt is a cheaper alternative to my first choice. Or how about this floral print microfibre fabric, in soft muted shades of grey, again at just £5.99 per mt.
Last but not least we now have in stock a beautiful double crepe fabric in both plain and patterned fabrics. For those of you in our swatch club (where you get a booklet of samples sent out to you every 3 months), I am sure some of these will be included in our next collection due out in June. When my daughter Vicki was filming our video's for these fabrics, I sneaked in and took the next photo just for a taster of this wonderful fabric. Incidentally I've noticed that Mark's and Spencer are using this fabric in their summer Per Una range! 
Pictured above is the animal print double crepe and the plain double crepe fabric in beige. There are lots of other prints to choose from too!
I'll have to finish for now my sewist buddies, this sunshine is making me think of my summer wardrobe and all the wonderful, exclusive garments I can make.
Sew long for now,
Annette xx
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#FabricFriday - Nautical Ideas

What is happening with this weather? As I am starting to write this week's #FabricFriday post, we've had a cold start to the day, followed by snow and now the sun is shining and it's actually quite warm outside!! So at first I was wondering what to talk about this week, then I was asked for this pattern, Butterick 6185, in our craft shop and hey I was hooked.
The middle combination is my favourite I think. (I'm sure you'll agree all combinations are nice though). I just love my first fabric choice.
This is a gorgeous quality designer stretch cotton fabric from the Jardine collection. This is a medium weight fabric suitable for a wide variety of uses, anything from your favourite garment to a funky cushion, so perfect for this dress, in fact perfect for any item off this pattern. The lycra (stretch) content makes this fabric very comfortable to wear and forgiving when fitting your garment. 
I love the dress...
This is a very straightforward make, with pockets (if required) sewn into the sideseam. My favourite part is the double collar. Each 'collar' is made separately then attached to the neckline of the dress together.
Along with my first fabric I have chosen our plain jardin stretch cotton - which is the same fabric as the spotty one above, but just in plain colours. We also do this beautiful range of plain stretch cotton which comes in a much wider range of colours ranging from pretty pastels to deep dark shades! Something to go with everything and for the purpose of here and now I'm choosing navy and of course white. 
The skirt and trousers both have an elasticated waist and sideseam pockets. In addition to the elasticated waist the skirt has a pleat at the front in the middle of 2 buttonholes (which the cord will be threaded through). After the pockets are sewn in the sideseams the top of the pockets line up approximately with the fold line. The top edge is then folded inside along this foldline to form the casing. Very easy, even easier if you don't insert the pockets.
The whole outfit has a lovely nautical look to it.Talking of which, how big is nautical at the moment? The following fabric is cheap and very cheerful, at just £2.99 per metre.
The design on this polycotton is just fabulous and would make an amazing blouse off this pattern. Add to this our plain polycottons in navy and white, or how about red and white, for the collar and hey how good would that look (and how reasonably priced)! Remember polycotton is the ideal fabric for babies and children, reasonable in price, easy to sew and very easy to care for.
Polycotton would be too thin for the trousers so you could choose linen or linen mix. At the moment we have a clearance linen/viscose fabric at just £4.99 per metre. It comes in white and navy blue (the black has now sold out unfortunately) and is a medium weight. Absolutely perfect for these trousers.
Seeing that we are talking nautical I will finish off this week with some more fabrics from the nautical theme!
This fabric looks, from a distance, almost a spotted design (see where I'm coming from) but in fact it is tiny yachts! The navy design has turquoise yachts scattered among the navy ones and the red has navy yachts scattered among the red ones, both on a white background. As this is a cotton poplin, it is ideal for summer. I quite fancy some shorts in the navy/turquoise as I have a turquoise, nautical theme t-shirt and some turquoise slip on sandals. This would be ideal for my holiday this summer. Can't wait for that! 
New for this year is our stunning range of batik fabrics. I have chosen to show you this beautiful hand printed fabric in a fun turtle design. Well we are talking nautical haha!!
Due to the hand processes involved in creating this fabric, every metre is unique and irregularities in colour and print are all part of its naive charm! It is 100% cotton and a medium weight.
And so, sew long till next week and dare I say ship ahoy haha!
Annette xx

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