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Little Girls Sparkly Crochet Poncho by Ember

Since teaching myself to crochet I've been trying to improve my skills by making different items and challenging myself. My daughter challenged me to make her a sparkly poncho, dark & light pink to be more specific!

We decided the gorgeous Hayfield Bonus Glitter Knitting Yarn in Fairy Dust & Glow would be perfect for the job. Minerva crafts kindly provided us with 3 lots of each shade to help me with this project.

I was a little nervous using glitter yarn for the first time as I wasn't sure if it would unravel but luckily the Hayfield Bonus Glitter Knitting yarn is great to work with. Using a 3.5mm Crochet Hook I started on the neck using the triple crochet stitch. My daughter wanted the option to lace a ribbon through at the end so I chained 2 between each set of 3 triple crochets.

Once I was fairly happy (for a beginner) with the neck of the poncho I moved on to the body of the poncho using the granny square technique. The poncho worked up very quickly using this technique and I love how the Hayfield Bonus Glitter Knitting Yarn in Fairy Dust & Glow look together. My daughter is very happy with how her poncho turned out too.

The poncho worked up rather quickly and although I can see where I can improve in future I am rather pleased with my first attempt at crocheting a poncho. I will definitely be attempting another poncho in the future and using Hayfield Bonus Glitter Knitting Yarn for future projects too.

Thanks for reading,

Ember

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Tilda's Fairy Tale Wonderland Book Review by Emma

I love books and pretty illustrated craft books are the perfect accompaniment to a sewing room so when I was asked to look the Tilda's Fairy Tale Wonderland Book how could I resist.
Tilda's signature, clean style follows throughout and the book feels classic and tidy. 
For those who love to make little dolls and toys, this is perfect, the little faces have only eyes and rosy cheeks which you paint on but they manage to still have expressions which reflect the characters they are representing. The characters are varied, from little deers to The Nutcracker. However, the way the characters are constructed is the same throughout so it doesn't offer a great deal of variation in terms of skills.
For me, for a book which is sold as having 25 paper and fabric crafts, there is a theme of the small dolls and animals throughout so I think the subtitle should suggest this but if this is your thing then this is definitely the book for you. The little characters are so endearing! 
The tutorials and beautifully presented with lots of pictures, which are a pleasure to look at and flick through. The pages are beautifully illustrated throughout following the fairy tale theme, making the book a pleasure to read and get inspiration from. 
The patterns are included in the back and need tracing, many of them are on top of each other, so a careful eye is needed!
I made the little make-up bag which was really easy to follow and makes a change from a standard make-up bag. It doesn't have a pattern for it, it gives you shape sizes to cut so it would be easy to size up and down. Though I think the top pieces are a little tall!
Just a quick note - many of the projects need you to use Tilda equipment or products to make the projects, some you will be able to use any fabric with but others, especially the hair of the dolls will need Tilda Products
Thanks for reading,
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Clover’s Sweetheart Rose Maker Review – Super Simple Pretty Embellishments

Hop onto the romance embellishment trend with these “oh sew easy dainty roses”!

With everything on the high street still floating on the romantic and embellished trend, make these fabric roses tonight to add to this seasons wardrobe staples.

I was delighted to review Clover’s Sweetheart Rose Maker as I love the idea of making lots of fabric roses fast to personalise my clothes and accessories. As I am obsessed with all things roses I couldn’t wait to get started. I choose the largest fabric rose template to create 6cm roses as I wanted a vintage tea rose look and the template is also easier to photograph. Both 4cm and 5cm templates are available to create smaller versions of the flower.

The template is from a Japanese haberdashery company so it’s like creating Japanese origami with your fabric sandwiched in the middle. Extremely satisfying to make! I made my first rose at my weekly textile group and that ‘voila’ moment when the rose pops out of the template is a very much a, ’I made it myself’ moment and a great crowd pleaser I can tell you.

The kits comes in a A5 size clear envelope so can be stored with your dressmaking paper patterns or paper stock. Inside, you get really clear instructions (see above) and the two pieces of the rose maker template plus a hair grip to hold it all in place. 

I loved how the instructions (English is just one off the multi-lingual sheet) has very easy to follow diagrams, so you can chat whilst make. You can also determine how ruffle-y or bud tight you want your roses to be. So even though you are using the same template the roses could be a range from full bloom to rose buds about to flower.

Here’s how I made my shoe rose decorations in a few easy steps. Firstly you need to sandwich your top and bottom template between your fabric. My fabric is pink Organza Fabric which doesn’t show up fantastically in the photos but it is the best fabric in my opinion to get pretty tea rose flowers!

I loved that the template had ‘START’ on one corner and a different pattern on the front and back to help you fold.

I sandwiched my chiffon between the templates.

And pinned my fabric sandwich together through the punched pin holes. At this point the pre-folded template wanted to fold itself in! It virtually folds for you!

I followed the instructions and my rose then looked like this, all folded in a perfect pentagon with a running stitch along the top (just seen).

I then created a wrapped tube by unpinning the two templates. It looks nothing like a rose at this point...

From this long snake like chiffon tube, I pulled the running stitch to gather up the fabric and followed one of the diagrams to make these cute chiffon roses. I was pretty amazed that I could create these from a tube of twisted chiffon in minutes.

Thank-you to Minerva Crafts for giving me the opportunity to make my plain ballet pumps pop with chiffon roses. I think I have the bug and I’m going to try this look on a knitted cardigan for a vintage starlet look. What would you do?

Samantha hosts vintage craft parties and workshops at www.crafternoonteahostess.co.uk

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How to Make a Christmas Table Runner with Becky

Christmas for me is all about spending time with friends and family, eating yummy food and reminiscing about times gone by. The dining table is a big part of my festive experience from Christmas Eve through to New Year’s Day – with me welcoming loved ones into my home for drinks, nibbles and general chatter.

With this in mind, I wanted to share a quick and simple crafty project with you. Here, I talk you through how to make a festive table runner.

I love Christmas time and giving handmade gifts, so if like me you are searching for something to make this year - this could be the project for you.

I have made two different example table runners both using materials in stock at Minerva Crafts, all of which are linked below:

Noel Hearts print Christmas Polycotton Fabric

Reindeer print Christmas Polycotton Fabric

Birds print Christmas Polycotton Fabric

Trailing Holly print Christmas Cotton Fabric

All of the fabrics are good quality and I felt perfect for making this project.

Supplies Needed for this Project:

  • Scissors

  • Chalk / Pencil / Fabric Pen

  • Pins

  • Iron / Ironing Board

  • Two pieces of contrasting Christmas Fabric. The back to be 40cm and the front to be 30cm.

  • Thread to match your backing fabric (I used the same green cotton to both stitch the inside of my table runner and top stitch the project at the end).

Note:

1cm seam allowance is used throughout unless otherwise noted.

Step One

Choose your christmas fabric.

Step Two

Choose which fabric you want on the front and back of your table runner.

For the back you will need 40cm of fabric and for the front you will need 30cm of fabric.

Step Three

Cut your front and back fabric.

Note: It doesn’t matter what width your fabric is e.g. 45inchs / 60 inches wide as both will look nice. The fabric I used was just under 45inches wide.

The fabric should be cut as a single layer and measured from the narrowest part of the fabric (the fabric should be in a ‘portrait’ position rather than being ‘landscape').

Unless the fabric you are using has an obvious line to follow, I’d recommend marking you cutting line using chalk or a pencil.

You should now have two pieces of fabric that look like the below images. The cream fabric is the front and the green fabric is the back of my table runner.

Step Four

Pin your fabric together at the long edges – right sides together.

You will have to move the backing fabric to meet the front fabric as they are different widths.

Note: The below image shows one side pinned. You will need to repeat this step on the opposite edge.

Step Five

Using a 1cm seam allowance – sew in a straight line down both long edges of your table runner. Start at the top of one side – remembering to back tack at the start and end of each side. Then repeat for the opposite side.

The short edges should remain un-stitched at the moment.

Then turn your table runner the right way out (wrong sides together) and place it on the ironing board. It should look like a long tube at the moment.

Step Six

Using your hands, pull the backing fabric in equal amounts to the sides of your front (centre section) fabric – or as close as you can. This looks like a border at the sides of your front fabric. Then iron in place.

Step Seven

Now fold the table runner in half to form a narrow rectangle shape – the backing fabric should be right sides together.

Then pin the short edge at the top. Ensure all of the edges are the same length. Trim if needed.

Step Eight

Using a 1cm seam allowance - sew the short edge – back tacking at the start and end of the line of stitching. Then repeat this step on the opposite short edge. See image below.

Step Nine

Next turn through the section you just sewed to the front. This forms a triangle shape on the front of the table runner.

Step Ten

Pin along the bottom edge of the triangle and top stitch in place. You will need to sew as close to the bottom edge of the triangle shape as you can. See image below (I’ve included a picture of both the front and back of my table runner at this stage).

The repeat on the opposite end.

Step Eleven

Give the table runner a final press with the iron and you are done! I hope you like your new table runner.

And here is another one I made using the other two fabrics mentioned at the beginning of the blog post...

Which is your favourite?

Thanks very much for reading,

Becky @ Notes from the Sewing Room

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Needlecord Fabric Review by Dawn

As an avid sewer, and someone who likes to try anything new or different, I was keen to take part in the Minerva Crafts product testing scheme. The opportunity arose to try this Leaf print stretch Needlecord Fabric and I chose the Burnt Orange. 

The colour of this is just so lusciously rich and it’s peppered with a brown variable leaf design. Add to that a random embroidered thread pattern in contrast cream and you get this fabulous abstract fabric! It’s also available in Brown, Green and Olive Green, so plenty of colours to choose from.

I was rather excited when my parcel arrived from Vicki, and this was washed and outside on the line, blowing in the breeze within a couple of hours of posties delivery! It washed well and barely needed any ironing (always a bonus!) but as with most dark colours, wash separately. 

There was definitely a tad of orange lurking in the soapy water. Anyway, fabric washed and dried, it was time to cut. As with all fabric with a pile (nap), all pattern pieces need to be cut in the same direction. If you run your fingers up and down the fabric, you can feel the pile. It will feel smooth in one direction and a slightly rougher texture the opposite direction.

Due the abstract design I chose a sewing pattern with quite large pattern pieces and Megan Nielsen’s Brumby Skirt Sewing Pattern was a perfect choice. The corduroy is medium to heavy weight but with fine wales (those vertical ridges) and also a slight stretch. It wasn’t applicable in my case with making a full skirt but that slight stretch is always an added bonus for fitting and comfort of wear!

One thing I noticed is that this corduroy barely frayed. Some you get shed like a dog in summer! Sewing this was also easy. I often find that fabrics with a pile tend to shift around when sewing and using a walking foot helps with that. But I didn’t find the need at all with this corduroy, even with my long seams. I pressed all the seams open and overlocked the edges.

Corduroy always needs to be pressed with the nap side down. A velvet needleboard is excellent for this but these can be pricey! A soft towel works just as well or (as in my case) I used an off cut of the fabric itself, right side up. This is so the pile isn’t crushed whilst pressing.

For the gathering of the waist, I used a zig zag stitch over a narrow cord as recommended by the pattern and it gathers beautifully in this fairly heavy fabric. And, I even managed to add some piping. Well those super huge pockets needed a little showing off! I lined the pockets and the waistband in the same cream fabric that I used for my self-made piping. This was to reduce the bulk.

Overall this was a pleasure to work with and sew. I almost opted for a jacket but I am just so happy that I chose a full skirt instead as it just shows how versatile this fabric can be. It’s not just for jackets, straight or A-line skirts and dungarees!

Thanks for reading,

Dawn @ Dawn-Whitham-Holloway

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Tiny Tots Baby Yarn Review by Wendy

Hi everyone, it’s Wendy from wendystitch.com, here to review some baby yarn for you.

I have been a knitter since I was a child but I have to admit that I only really knit things for me and very rarely have I knit anything for babies. However, the call from Minerva Crafts for testers of this Baby Yarn came right on the day that we found out my partner’s sister is expecting her first child – it seemed like a sign!

The yarn I am reviewing is Sirdar Snuggly Tiny Tots DK in shade 0986 - a delicious banana yellow with white flecks running through it. There are loads of lovely shades to from and I chose this particular one because, as well as being such a happy colour, it is gender neutral. Perfect for a new-born.

Here’s some more info about the yarn, straight off the label:

Company: Sirdar

Type: Double Knit

Fibre: 90% acrylic, 10% polyester

Yardage: 150 yards/137 metres

Weight: 50g

Wash method: machine wash at 40 degrees. Can be tumble dried.

First impressions

The yarn is a 100% manmade and I have a confession to make…. I am a bit of a yarn snob. I usually only knit with good quality natural yarns and the thought of acrylic yarn brings back memories of the cheap, squeaky school jumpers of my youth. However, it seems I have had the wool (pun intended) pulled over my eyes for too long when it comes to acrylic. There is nothing squeaky or cheap looking about this yarn.

What it looks/feels like

Straight from the ball the yarn feels very soft and I would never have guessed that this was acrylic. If I were to compare it to any other fibre I would say that it feels most like cotton. The white textured bits in particular feel very cotton-like.

Knitting with it

It is a double knitting weight yarn and the suggested needle size is 4mm. I decided to test it out by knitting a baby cardigan, knit seamlessly from the top down, with a slip stitch pattern around the yoke, a garter stitch button band and a stocking stitch body. I deliberately chose this pattern as I wanted to be able to show you how the yarn looks in a variety of stitch patterns.

As you can see, the yarn knits up all of these stitch patterns beautifully with really good stitch definition. I think you could probably knit any pattern in this yarn and you would have great stitch definition. Though personally, I think I prefer just the simple stocking stitch. I think the simplicity of the pattern helps to expose the wonderful textured white flecks in the yarn.

Washing/blocking

What I love about this yarn is that it is machine washable and does not need any blocking or reshaping when damp. I washed my swatch on a 40 degree cycle and there was no shrinkage or misshaping. If anything, it got a little softer in the wash but that is all. This makes it perfect for a baby knit that will be spending a lot of time in and out of the washing machine.

Ideas for using it

I would recommend sticking to quite simple baby patterns and let the texture of the yarn provide all the detail you need. I am thinking of making a cute little romper suit with it next but this yarn would also be great for jumpers, hats and booties.

Conclusion

Spending a fortune on fancy yarns is all well and good (and it is a habit I am unlikely to break I’m afraid) but it is not really the most appropriate course to take when knitting baby items. You want something affordable, soft against the baby’s skin and machine washable. This yarn ticks all of those boxes. An affordable yarn in a variety of lovely colours, that feels pleasant to hold and knits up beautifully. Acrylic yarn has greatly improved over the years and I will definitely be back for more of this.

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Clover E-Tablet & Paper Tablet Keepers by Nancy Zieman Review

I chose Clover E-Tablet & Paper Tablet Keepers by Nancy Zieman as my next Minerva Crafts Product Product review. I still have an interest for bag and wallet making and thought template covers would fit into my repertoire nicely! These templates can be used to make covers for either electronic tablets or traditional paper tablet blocks.
The templates arrive attractively packaged in a cellophane pack so you can see what you are getting. They are accompanied by a booklet of comprehensive instructions. There are 3 sizes to make – small, medium and large. I decided on a medium paper tablet cover as I had just enough fabric that I wanted to use for the outer of the cover - it came from a stack of fat quarters on the theme of sewing which I have in my stash. 
I chose three coordinating prints for the inner, outer and pocket/tab accents of the design – my sewing motif themed fabric as the main fabric and one of scattered buttons and another of densely packed cotton reels as contrasts. I also looked at fabrics on the Minerva website and there are plenty of similar prints which could be used, all in the quilting fabrics section.
The clear, see through templates are great for positioning on your fabric to get the best placements possible for the printed motifs. The templates in themselves are quite simplistic rectangular shapes and are also colour coordinated so that you can find the right pieces for the size you are making. The instructions are very detailed and I would say that they are maybe over complicated in parts for what is essentially quite a simple construction. Perhaps that is just my perspective though in that I am not a beginner to sewing ….
The cover itself consists of a front piece, back piece, closing tab, pocket and spine. 
As my fabric is sewing themed, I decided to customise my cover into a wallet for either a paper block or a dressmaking pattern. I reckoned I could move the spine over from the middle of the cover to the right hand side near the edge to act as a holder for a dressmaking pattern or a notebook. The thick interfacing inner allows for a soft fold over when closing shut and can function well on its own without a spine. 
Once all the fabric choices have been made and pattern pieces cut out, the construction is very straightforward. A kind of sandwich is made of the outer, middle padding and inner fabric and the corner pocket is placed on the inside along with the spine/pattern holder.
There are some instructions for self-made bias binding but I used a contrasting satin binding which I bought. This is sewn all around the outer edge, trapping in the edges of the corner pocket and the spine/pattern holder strip. The main body of the tablet cover is now complete.
That then just leaves the closing tab. This is lined on the inside with thin interfacing and then sewn. Corners are clipped and trimmed and then it is turned out to the right side and topstitched all around the edge for a neat finish. The tab can either be attached by machine onto the back piece before the main body is assembled, or, as I did, by hand, so I could judge where I wanted it to go once I had the inner contents of pattern etc inside. The tab can then be closed on the front by a magnetic or snap fastener or even velcro.   
That then is basically it! In my sewing wallet, I may even customise further by adding a horizontal strip of leftover pocket fabric to hold pens, scissors, tape measure and a stitch ripper etc. The padded inside inner is also good for acting as a pincushion and storing pins and needles in. I think I will use the corner pocket for a small notebook.
I envisage using this as something I can take in my bag with me when travelling – such as on the train to work. A very useful addition to my sewing kit!
Best.
Diane Hudson-Sharpe @ Marguerite Designs
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The Jenna Cardigan by Angelica

For a long time, I've dreamt of having a closet full of pretty little 50s dresses with matching petticoats, cropped cardigans, belt etc, and while lots of dresses and petticoats have come into my wardrobe, I have failed to find just the right cropped cardi.
It was not because cardigans were hard to come by, but I had a very specific cardigan in mind. It had to be fitted and cropped to waist length, with a wide waistband to really cinch me in. It had to have long, 3/4 or elbow length sleeves and lastly, I wanted it in EVERY color.
Enter: the Jenna Cardigan by Muse Patterns.
Counting the entire expansion bundle, this pattern offers 2 lengths, 2 bodice variations, 3 necklines and 11 different types and lengths of sleeves, giving you a total of 132 different cardigan combinations to choose from.
For my dream cardigan, I used the waist length bodice with the shoulder yoke, V-neckline, and the original 3/4 length sleeve. I went down a size in the hope of getting a more fitted cardi and thus made a straight size 36.
For the fabric, I was lucky enough to get 2 m of the premium quality cotton spandex stretch Jersey Fabric in a gorgeous navy blue to play with, and it was an absolute joy to sew up. It is a bit heavier than a regular jersey. It was very stable and has great recovery, perfect for my dream cardigan.
I also got some ButtonsSewing Thread and Iron On Interfacing for the project. I love how the buttons have some interest to them in the form of a subtle marl in the color but are plain enough not to be too distracting.
I sewed everything on my overlocker except the bodice-to-yoke-seam which is gathered. I sewed those seams on my regular machine and then overlocked it to finish the seam allowance. I only topstitched the button band, as I have seen a few versions online where the topstitching has stretched the seams out, and I kind of liked the clean look without the topstitching.
I did have to play around with the differential feed on the overlocker a bit. 2 layers of non-interfaced fabric needed a differential feed of almost 2 to lay flat, but it shifted the layers a bit at the start and end of each seam. Also, the interfaced part of the button band needed a differential feed of "Normal"/0. 
To combat this, I had the dial set on "Normal" at the beginning and end of each seam and for the button parts of the button band, and set on "2" for the rest of each seam. This way, all seams matched up and were perfectly flat. 
I tried the cardi on after sewing the hem band on to check the length and ended up shortening it by 2 cm. I did this by running the body-to-hem-band seam through the overlocker once more, trimming 1 cm off all layers. I also shortened each end of the neckband and one end of the neckband interfacing by 2 cm to make them fit with the shortened body of the cardi. 
However, this was before attaching the button band, and by the time the cardi was sewn up, it was noticably too large on me (see photo below). Cue major sad face. 
Luckily, I had plenty of leftover fabric to make another. The size 36 had only used about 90 cm of fabric, despite the official requirement of 1,5 meters.
For my second go, I sized down to a 34 bust - 32 waist based on the finished measurement chart. My natural waist measures about 74-75 cm, giving me 2-3 cm of negative ease. I also made the length adjustment on this version by narrowing the waistband by 2 cm and the bodice by 1. 
I think I could have gone down to a straight size 32, but oh well. The size 34/32 only took 85cm of fabric. 
A few other reviewers have found the Jenna Cardi to have very wide sleeves, and I will agree with them. For now, I have focused on getting the bodice rigth, but next time I will either make the sleeves and sleeve cuffs narrower or try the narrow sleeve from the expansion pack and add a simple cuff to it. 
A am SO much happier with my second version! The waist fits me exactly as I had envisioned it and the length is perfect. I LOVE the shoulder yoke detail, although there is still a smidge too much room under the arms and bust. 
I love that the final cardi takes less than a metre of fabric. Having found the perfect fabric for it in the Premium Jersey, I will have to order at least a few more colors to sew myself a rainbow of cardis. How lovely would it be in emerald green, bright red or soft pink? 
And while I'm at it, I might add some vintage-y patches on the yokes. I have seen it alot in the vintage shops and on the high street lately and love the trend. I love the idea of adding Initial PatchesFlower Patches or Bird Patches for some vintage flair.
On a leaving note, I'd like to thank Minerva Craft for the materials needed for this project. If you'd like to read more about the dress I'm wearing with the cardigan or any of my other makes, you can find it on my blog or on my instagram
Thanks for reading,
Angelica
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Make-Up Bag Tutorial by Michelle

This make up bag has been designed by me Creativeblonde, using a Simplicity Pattern 1387. Hope you enjoy my print friendly tutorial…
Supplies you will need:
·      Half metre of the Ocean Blue Michael Miller Painters Canvas Fabric
·      Half metre of  the cornflower blue Gutermann Ring-a-Roses Fenton House Blossom Fabric
·      Half metre of Interfacing
·      10” grey Zip
Let's begin:
Start by cutting out your pattern and all the pieces required from the main fabric, the interlining and the lining fabric.
The pattern requires jute webbing, I replaced this with Fenton House Blossom fabric, to do this cut 2 pieces of the blossom fabric 10.5” x 3.5”, pin and sew in place. The first strip can be machined, the other side is sewn by hand, using a simple binding stitch.
Follow the instructions, to sew the sides to the front and back pieces of the main fabric, lining up your dots, add the bottom of the bag.
Your bag is now beginning to take shape.
Adding your zip…
Cut two pieces of fabric from the Michael Miller measuring 9 ¼” x 2” and sew to either side of your zip, and top stitch in place.
Sandwich the zip using 4 pieces of the same fabric measuring 2” x 3” to each end.
For the tabs I used the blossom fabric, cut 2 pieces measuring 2” x 3”, fold in half long ways, to mark the centre, press each side into the middle, fold in half and pin in place on the bag.
Attach the zip to the top of the bag, with right sides together.
Baste your lining fabric to the interlining, and sew together in the same way as before.
Join your bags together (outer and lining), remember to leave a small gap so you turn the bag right way out.
This bag is part of a matching set, see my previous tutorial for the oversized bag.
Many thanks for reading my tutorial, hope you enjoy creating your very own ‘make up’ bag, it would make a lovely gift for a friend.
x Creativeblonde x
You can check out more of my tutorials on my blog at www.creativeblonde.co.uk or follow me on Instagram.
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Prada Satin Skirt

When Minerva Crafts were looking for product testers for this Gorgeous Fabric, I immediately jumped at the chance! I'd been coveting this fabric for a while on their site, but had so many projects on the go and so many ideas kicking around my head that I just couldn't make up my mind what I wanted to make with it, so it was always a 'one day...' project. It then skipped to the front of the queue and became a 'now!' project when I saw the opportunity to be a product tester!

This fabric is called 'Prada' and is a satin backed crepe, which means you can use either side of this fabric - the crepe side is matte, the satin side has a shine to it. It's a medium weight fabric, which would be perfect for evening dresses, jackets and trousers. I think it's just a *smidge* too heavy to make a shirt from, so if it's a silky flowy blouse you're after I would definitely recommend something a bit lighter in weight.

I had originally planned to make the Butterick Pattern 5209 (above), copying the black dress on the left pretty much exactly. I've had this pattern for a while now and knew it would be destined for black satin, so it seemed the obvious choice. But when I saw the fabric in my hands in natural light I could see that the shiny satin side of it isn't true black - it has a very, VERY dark midnight blue sheen to it. It's only after you hold it up next to something black that you can notice it - check out the pictures below of the skirt next to my black shoes and you will be able to see the very subtle difference.

But this isn't a bad thing at all - it just meant that I had to rethink my pattern choice as I wanted an absolute jet black for the Butterick dress. Instead, I went for Simplicity Pattern 1099, *another* pattern that I'd had in the back of my mind for a while (there's a LOT more back there too... too many ideas too little time!).

This pattern contains three skirts and three tops, so it's really good value if you're looking to make some evening wear! Full skirts in two lengths plus the slim skirt I have made here (view F - how amazing is that pink colour they've chosen! This fabric is also available in a cerise pink which might be quite similar), a loose-fitting and a slim fitting crop top and finally a top that you can add a contrast band to. You could get a fair few outfit combinations from this one pattern! I really like the fitted crop top (A) that the slim skirt is pictured with, but I don't quite have the stomach to carry that off :) So here's my finished skirt.... ta da!

I absolutely love those pleats on the front, the sheen of the satin looks beautiful as the light catches it. If you're using the shiny satin side as the right side (as opposed to the matte crepe) I would suggest using a pressing cloth rather than putting the iron directly on to the fabric - this should prevent any shiny marks appearing, which is the last thing you want on your beautifully made garment.

The skirt closes with an invisible zip and two hooks and bars on the waistband. As it's unlined, it is actually a pretty quick make. In case you missed it, there is a thigh-high slit up the side of the skirt, which you could alter the length of if you so desired. Just be sure to follow the instructions and back-tack your stitching at the opening, to avoid the seam unravelling!

This satin is quite easy to work with, it's not at all like the lightweight slippery satins that shift all around the cutting board and make you wonder why you ever thought it would be a good idea to use such fabrics. It's got a good bit of body to it which makes it easier to control! I would recommend cutting out your pieces single layer, rather than folding the fabric and then cutting - this will make cutting much easier and also help prevent any distortion of the layers to make sure you get everything correctly on the grain lines.

As always, pre wash your fabric the same way as you will wash the finished garment, to allow for any shrinkage or initial colour run - it's always better to be safe than sorry. I washed this fabric at 30 degrees with no problems.

I overlocked the edges of the satin purely for a nice finish, but there didn't appear to be any real danger of fraying edges, because the weave of the fabric is nice and tight. This also reduces the potential for snags and plucking - I'm sure I'm cursed in some way because I ALWAYS catch delicate fabrics on stuff but this satin doesn't seem to be prone to snagging which is definitely a plus point if you're making a luxurious item with a nice sheen to it!

For the hem of the skirt I used half-inch bias tape, rather than hem tape, and hand stitched the hem after pressing. I also hand stitched the slit facing open to avoid stitching showing on the outside.

Although this fabric does have *some* stretch, there's not a huge amount so bear this in mind if you're making something close-fitting like trousers!

I might go back and make the fitted cropped top from the pattern envelope (view A). I'm pretty sure it could easily be lengthened to meet with the skirt and cover the stomach gap - I'm not sure I'd go for a satin-on-satin combo but it would look lovely in a lace or sequin fabric. A matching jacket made from the satin would look gorgeous paired with one of the skirts from the Simplicity pattern, using a combination of the shiny and matte sides of the fabrics to highlight the lapels or pockets.

I really love how the skirt has turned out - the pattern is the perfect pairing for this lovely Satin Fabric! I'm tempted now to buy some of the other colours... the cerise pink calls to me purely because it's PINK, and the jade also looks lovely. I'd like to make a shorter version of this skirt because it fits me so well - I'm thinking a knee-length pencil skirt. Might have to glam up my work wardrobe so that I can wear these pretty things every day!

Until next time... happy sewing!

Sarah @ Wanderstitch

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