Posted in Projects on Thursday the 22nd June 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi everyone! I'm Sarah, from London. Usually you will find me over at my blog www.wanderstitch.com but today I'm uber-excited to be over here on the Minerva Crafts blog as a guest blogger.
For this post, I have made New Look Sewing Pattern 6207, which is a Workroom / Project Runway pattern. It's a loose fitting dress with two views - a shorter version with a curved hemline and a long version with a classic hemline. Sizes 6-16 are included in the envelope.
I chose to make the longer version, in the Tropical Leaf Viscose Challis Fabric which is currently available in five different colours on the Minerva website. I chose viscose for its softness and draping properties - as there's a lot of fabric used in this dress I wanted it to hang nicely. The fabric is super-wide at 56 inches and is machine washable at 40 degrees with no fussy washing requirements - bonus!
If viscose isn’t your thing, the pattern also suggests that you can use cottons, silks, rayons, or crepes.
The most tricky thing I found with this pattern is the sheer size of the templates - if you are making the longer version you're cutting pieces that are almost as tall as you are! I used two A1 cutting mats taped together and this still wasn't big enough - some manoeuvring of the fabric was required to cut out the last little bit that wouldn't fit on the cutting mat. An extra pair of hands would be very helpful at this stage if you can persuade someone. Don't let this put you off though, I promise it will be worth it!
The pattern tissue itself has instructions for grading between sizes, if according to the pattern measurements you're different sizes at the bust, waist and/or hips. This is really helpful for beginners, who may not realise that it's possible to do this! Throughout the instructions there's also 'Workroom Tips' that give you a little heads up on tricks used to make something a little bit easier, so I definitely feel like this is beginner-friendly. I think this is really good, as sometimes pattern instructions can leave you a little confused and turning to YouTube for some advice on how to approach something.
I usually cut a size 10 in patterns from the other major companies, and although this is the first NewLook Sewing Pattern I have sewn I went ahead and cut the 10 and it was a good fit. I always make dresses based on my bust measurement, and if I am in in-between sizes I will tend to size down, otherwise the finished item tends to be too big on the shoulders and underneath the arms.
The main body of the dress is cut in four pieces - two for the front and two for the back, plus the neckline pieces. This means there are seams down the centre front and centre back - something to bear in mind if you're planning on making it in a plain fabric. The leaf pattern on the fabric I used hides the centre seams quite well, but they might be more noticeable in a solid fabric - depends on how you feel about seeing a seam down the front of the dress. You could always use a contrasting thread and add some topstitching, turning it into an interesting little detail.
As the edges of the fabric were fraying ever so slightly I overlocked all the raw edges to keep everything in place - the last thing I wanted was for the insides of my lovely dress to start fraying after a few washes. It's much easier to prevent rather than cure so while you're constructing the dress be sure to finish off the edges with your preferred method - if you don't have an overlocker, a zig-zag stitch works just as well, or you could always try some french seams or bias binding. Whatever takes your fancy!
I used black Cotton Poplin Fabric to cut the neckline pieces, which is more stable than the viscose and also makes the pattern of the fabric 'pop' that little bit more. They are also interfaced for a little extra strength - I always use sew-in interfacing as I find that the fusible kind leaves fabric way too stiff and sometimes you get a weird 'rippled' effect on the front of the fabric. I have used Vilene M12 Medium Weight Sew-In Interfacing, which is available in charcoal or white. Which colour you choose will depend on the shade of your fabric - if you have a lighter fabric, use the white one as the charcoal one may show through.
The back of the dress is fastened at the top with two loops and buttons - you have to make the loops yourself, by sewing a small strip of fabric and then turning it right side out. This is a little bit fiddly if you don't have something to help you - you can use a large darning needle to pass through the narrow 'tube', or you could even treat yourself to a dedicated Loop Turner which can also be used for belt loops and straps. It might even help with the turning of the neckband - you are instructed to stitch this inside out and then have to turn the right side out. Even for me this was pretty fiddly and slow going - just persevere moving it a centimetre or a few millimetres at a time, whatever you can manage, I promise you'll reach the end eventually!
The pattern comes with templates for back ties to shape the dress, which would look cute tied in a bow at the back but I knew that I would always wear it with a belt so I left these off. Other than that, I didn't make any alterations to the pattern and will definitely be using it again to make more dresses.
The finished dress is super comfy, really light and airy for the summer days that we are (hopefully) eventually going to get here in the UK. I'm also giving it bonus points for that fact that it matches my hair!
Posted in Product Reviews on Wednesday the 21st June 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
The Sirdar Snuggly Tiny Tots Yarn is a Baby Fashion DK with lots of lovely texture. It comes in 50g (137m) balls with a nice colour range, it's machine washable and made up of 90% Acrylic and 10% Polyester fibres.
I chose the lovely pale blue and lemon shades for a project I had in mind when I saw this yarn.
Although I must admit the yellow was brighter than I had expected, it is hard to judge with colours on the computer screen, it's more yellow than lemon but still very pretty used with the pale blue.
There is a textured white thread that is spun in the yarn that gives it an unusual appearance and feel, not so easy to see on the photograph, but also has a slight sheen which gives a fresh look.
I decided to make a Crochet Baby's snuggly jumper from a free pattern available on justcrochet.com. Using the two colours for more interest. Rather than crochet bobbles which would have made the garment too chunky I liked the idea of this stitch pattern, which is a variation of the 'Floret' crochet stitch pattern.
I am using UK crochet terms to describe the stitches and not the American terms in which the pattern was written.
Using a 4mm crochet hook as recommended on the yarn label, the stitches used were a Double Treble Stitch and a Slip Stitch. These form the basis of the pattern row and give the bobble effect. For the ribbing on the sleeve cuffs and on the bottom of the sweater, a simple Back and Front Post Treble Rib works well.
When you work the pattern, you chain multiples of two for your desired size and after the initial rib for the bottom edge of the sweater, the pattern commences after one row of trebles as follows: Chain 1 to turn at the end of the treble row, turn then slip stitch into the base of this chain, Double Treble in the next stitch then slip stitch loosely into the next, repeating to the end, finishing with a slip stitch. The next row is another row of trebles, these two rows form the basis of the pattern throughout so very easy to do with a lovely textured look and feel. I should mention that when working the pattern (bobbles) row, you will find that your working stitches for the next row fall towards the back of the work on the wrong side, so watch out for that when doing the row of trebles so you don't miss a stitch.
View from the right side and wrong side, you can see the chains that will be your working stitches for the next row.
I found this yarn easy to work with but you do have to be mindful of the fine white thread when using a crochet hook so that the hook doesn't catch while working the yarn, something I doubt would be an issue when using knitting needles with this yarn.
The neckline was finished with a row of crab stich and two cute little own buttons on the shoulder closure.
I am sure you agree this project works well with the colours and yarn choice and will make the baby wearing it even more Snuggly to cuddle!
Posted in Product Reviews on Tuesday the 20th June 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Not sure if you've seen or heard about the Minerva Crafts Product Review List but I jumped on the chance to try out new things that I wouldn't normally go for, which is good as I'll be broading my crafty horizons!
I've received the extra small and small Pom Pom Makers for from Minerva for myself to review them!
I must say even before opening them up from the packaging, they looked pretty impressive, as I don't know about you guys but I found the 'cardboard'method too much like hard work!
Now I racked my brains as to what to use my Pom Poms for.... so I had a good think and as you do.... Go and raid your Craft Stash to find some Kidney Earrings Findings and thought well why not have Pom Pom earrings!
So instead of attaching them to a garment as I originally planned, I went down the jewellery route for a change!
Once opened out from the packaging, I'll be truthful and "thought how on earth does these work?", but once I realised there was instructions were written inside the packaging I was relieved!
But it did take a few attempts to get my head round of the "mechanics" of how they fold out and when to fold back in, when to snip and tie etc but once that sunk in, I was well away and made a Pom Pom literally in 2 minutes from start to finish!
All you have to do is start at one side of the loop and wind the yarn round to the other side and chop off to finish that loop and then repeat for the other side.
Once both are wound on, take a sharp yet small scissors and cut down the middle. I used my little embroidery scissors.
Then I used some cotton thread to tie in the middle as I found using yarn wouldn't get it tight enough to secure it, I used a double knot to secure.
Then you pull back the loops and then and pull apart the gadget from the middle to reveal your Pom pom!
I just trimmed the loose ends of the thread so that they were no longer showing and any uneven yarn bits that was sticking out of the Pom Pom shape!
They are really a fab gadget to have at your disposal, I'm not sure of how I have lived without these as you could literally Pom Pom everything!
These extra small and small makers are perfect for adding the extra touch to garments as they aren't huge to make it look like it's out of place for an example on scarfs, hats, slippers etc but personally quite like the idea of Pom Pom jewellery!
So if you haven't got round to making your own Pom Poms now is the time to do it as these gadgets make it so worthwhile! Even if you went to the medium and large sizes you could make some lovely Pom Pom bunting or wreaths for some cute homemade accessories!
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 19th June 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 16th June 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Minerva Crafts kindly sent me a box of Duchess Embroidery Threads to review. I cross stitch everyday and make Floss tube (cross stitch on You tube) video's. So I was excited to use them and see how they compare with my usual threads. The set had 72 skeins which is incredible for the price. They are made of 100% cotton. My pack had 12 variegated colours with 6 skeins of each colour. They are beautiful bright colours and the variegation makes them far more interesting to stitch with. The colour change is long enough that you could use the different shades as solid colours. This means if you have a design that needed three colours, you could cut a dark, medium and bright section. The colours will blend beautifully together. This is a simple way of changing the charted colour with out trying to blend your own shades.
I was first drawn to the rich dark red of number 48. The colour variation changes from bright post box red to deep burgundy. I chose a chart from a cross stitch magazine. Pulling out a small piece of Evenweave I was ready to start my project. The one colour design was a joy to stitch and very quick. I loved how the colour changes appeared on the symbols. I did make mistakes as every stitcher does, and had to pull some out to correct it. I noticed that the thread left red marks where it had been. On the packaging it states that it is colour fast but I wanted to test it to be sure. Cross stitch can take a long time and so it is vital that we can trust the products we use. I did a test stitch with all of the colours on some scap fabric. I then placed it in water to soak. I then left it to dry.
This is how it looked after being soaked and dried. As you can see there is no bleeding of the colours onto the fabric at all. I am happy that the skeins are colour fast. I would however advise to be aware of the fibers that are left on the faric when using the red. It can be cleaned up but it could get trapped under lighter colours.
I have a friends birthday coming up and so I thought I would like to make her a fun card. The Duchess set was lovely to dip into. It's always a pleasure to stitch a card that reflects the person it is intended for.
Aperture cards make stitched card making so much easier. I always back my stitching with Iron On Interfacing to stiffen it to give more stability. I then cut to size leaving plenty of room to attach to the card. Glue or double sided tape can be used to seal the card together. Applying the glue to the card means you can have the stitching face up and lower the card into position to see it is central. The extra card backing is then stuck in place behind.
I think this set is ideal for card making and small projects. It's fun and affordable and would be perfect for a child who is learning to be really creative and make something to be proud of. I will be reaching for the Duchess threads for my next card project. I think they have a place in any stitchers stash. It would be a welcome gift for any stitcher if you are unsure of their style.
Thank you for reading my review I hope you found it helpful. If you enjoy stitching why not take a look at our Floss Tube Community on YouTube. As well as having so much fun encouraging each other, I have learned so much to help improve my stitching. I have seen things I didn't even know was available and made stitching friends around the world.
Tina @ Simply in Stitches
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 15th June 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi Everyone! This is Lara from Handmade by Lara Liz. I’m so excited to be on the Minerva Crafts Blog to write a guest post.
While browsing my favorite things on the Minerva Crafts Blog for my Q&A Post, I fell in love with this beautiful quilted stretch Jersey Fabric. Once I saw it, I couldn’t get it out of my head! I thought it would be a perfect fit for the Coco Top from Tilly and the Buttons.
I haven’t sewn many Tilly and the Buttons Sewing Patterns before, but always admire them when I see them on other sewists! The Coco Top is a quick and easy sew and can be sewn on either the overlocker or the sewing machine. I sewed the majority of mine on the overlocker, and used the sewing machine for finishing. I am always a big fan of patterns that offer lots of different options – different necklines, lengths, optional details – and this pattern fits the bill! While this is just one version of the Coco, it can be made in so many different variations.
I chose to sew the top version with no pocket or funnel neckline. I did add a neckband to the pattern, as I find hemming knit necklines to be a bit fiddly. I never realized how easy it was to add a neckband on to any pattern and will definitely be doing that in the future! I’m sure others might already know how to do this, but if you’re newer to sewing like me – here’s my quick and easy neckband steps!
Lara’s Quick and Easy Neckband:
- Measure the neck opening using a tape measure
- Take length * 0.70 to get 70% of the neck opening
- Divide that by 2 to determine the length of pattern piece to cut on the fold
- Make yourself a pattern piece of the amount we calculated above x 1 ¼”
Once you have the neckband cut out, you just follow the same steps as your favorite knit pattern’s neckband – sew the short sides together (right sides together) and then press wrong sides together in half. Sew with either your overlocker or sewing machine.
I used a twin needle to hem the sleeves and hem of the skirt and to finish the neckband of the Coco Top.
My favorite thing about this pattern (besides how quickly it came together) was surprisingly the part I thought I would dislike – I really love the way the hem bells out on the top. It makes something that is basically a sweatshirt look much more dressed up – the fabric also makes a huge difference! This quilted fabric looks so unique and really elevates the top. I made a toile version out of a more drapey knit to check fit and it doesn’t look quite as dresses as this more stable knit. I would definitely recommend a stable knit for this pattern.
Minus the change in neck finishing, the only other modification I made on this pattern is to not stabilize the shoulders. In a drapeier knit, it would be very helpful, but for this fabric it wasn’t necessary.
I am really thrilled with the way this turned out! I will be making a few more and might even try out the dress version. I generally steer clear of dresses, but this seems like a super comfy work dress option so I might give it a go!
I’d love to see your versions of the Coco Top or hear your experiences adding neckbands onto patterns – make sure to reach out to me on Instagram or connect with me on my blog! Thanks for stopping by today!
Posted in Product Reviews on Wednesday the 14th June 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
These Clover Pompom Makers are so much fun to use, all you need is some wool and a few spare minutes to whip one up. And honestly once you start they are completely addictive! I had four different sizes to try out; the 20mm and 25mm from a pack labelled as ‘extra small’ and the 35mm and 45mm from a pack labelled as small.
Each bobbin maker has two sides that slot together with a pin in the middle. On each side there are two curved arms which you pull out, and holding them together you slowly wind the wool around the curves, keeping the thread taut and close together so that when you have gone from one side to the other you can’t see the plastic underneath. Pushing the arms down you then repeat on the other side. I found that the best pom pom resulted in winding the wool several times around and around the arms. The denser the wool is packed means you get a fluffier and rounder pom pom.
Once both sides have wool wrapped around them then you can cut through the centre of the wool, between the arms on each side.
Taking a piece of the same yarn you then need to tie the threads together so that when you pull the pom pom out it won’t fall apart. To do this you pass the cord through the centre of the pom pom maker and tie a knot. At this point you can then pull the sides apart of the pom pom maker and the pom pom appears!
And here it is, a fluffy pom pom! All done in a couple of minutes whilst sat in front of the TV. I found I needed to give mine a haircut to get it properly round but all in all it was super easy to make. I love the little ones especially. I was imagining making a colourful string of them as a Christmas decoration to pin up on the wall or wrap around the Christmas tree and aside from putting a pom pom on top of a woolly hat you could also embellish clothes, think of them as ends of ties maybe on shirts or a little line of them around the edge of a nice scarves etc…. The possibilities are endless.
Thanks for reading,
Sarah from Sewing Beautifully
Posted in Product Reviews on Tuesday the 13th June 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
It's me Sophie from www.sopbac.com again. I'm here for the second time, but first time being a product tester for Minerva Crafts. I have been very fortunate and been reviewing a new Ironing Mat from Prym.
The testing period couldn't have come at a better time. I have been struggling a bit with my ironing setup as it is now and trying to figure out what I could do about it. The solution was simple - an ironing mat instead of a board! So here is my setup before the mat.
I got this uneven ironing board made out of tree at a second-hand store. I unscrewed it from its metal frame and put it on top of a dresser where I store my fabric to save space. The board wobbles a lot and I can’t use the pointed end of the board for sleeves. To fix that I purchased a sleeve board (which I love!), but that doesn’t fix my wobbly problems. The board takes up space where I intentionally want to have my other pressing necessities, like the pressing ham and sleeve board. That is before I got this Iron Sheet from Prym!
The sheet is measured to be 50 cm x 92 cm. It’s a little big for my dresser, but I make it work. The mat is printed with metric measurements, which is perfect for me in Norway. This has been very helpful for when I sew pockets on my dresses at exactly 10 cm from the raw edge of the skirt. The mat also has 30-45-60 (and of course 90) degree angles if you need it, I personally haven’t been using it yet.
The backing of the mat is this silver heat resisting backing. I have tried using it with the highest heat option on my iron with steam over one area. The result was that some steam did come through and the dresser got wet. I wiped it away, waited for it to cool completely, then I repeated the ironing with the same heat, but less steam - nothing came through!
On one side of the ironing mat, there is three pouch pockets, one removable pocket attached by velcro and a pincushion. It is great for storing small items related to ironing. In the first pocket, I have my plastic point turner and embroidery scissors (don’t worry, the pocket is big and the pointer and scissors are always inside the pocket, I just pulled them up for the picture for those of you worrying for my safety). The second pocket I have my bias binding makers and the last one I have some markers and a loop turner.
The downside about the pockets is that bigger or more items will weigh the mat down making it slide of the dresser or whatever you put it on. I have to put my iron on top of the mat so it stays there.
All in all, I’m very happy with the ironing mat. It uses my dressers space to the max without taking up too much space and it does its job. If you didn’t know, it is currently on sale so head on over and put it in your shopping cart.
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 12th June 2017 by Annette
Even though I would have classed myself as an intermediate sewist, I was reluctant to work with Jersey Fabric until a few months ago. I had heard about how difficult it could be - mainly from Patrick Grant pointing out how contestants had stretched it out of shape on the Great British Sewing Bee. However, jersey has a lot of advantages, including comfort, easier fitting and a lovely drape. You can also achieve great results with a home sewing machine - no overlocker is required, though of course they do come in handy.
The Lark Tee Sewing Pattern is a great pattern for a first time trying out using a Knit Fabric. It’s a quick and straightforward make that can produce professional-looking results. This simplicity means that you can really take your time focusing on the small details, and still have a finished garment in a day. What have you got to lose?
1. Get all of your equipment together
Fabric and coordinating thread. I used this gorgeous bear print Cotton Jersey Fabric from Minerva
Ballpoint/jersey/stretch needle (these are all terms for the same thing)
Optional but recommended
Rotary cutter and self-healing mat
Paper and any other equipment you use for tracing off
2. Prepare your fabric as you normally do- either pre-wash or at least give a thorough press with plenty of steam.
3. Read through and familiarise yourself with the pattern.
Top tips before you start
Use a ballpoint/jersey/stretch needle. Since jersey is knitted rather than woven, it can ladder (like a pair of tights) if pierced by a regular needle. Specialist needles are designed to stop this from happening.
You must use a stretch stitch (the icon will look like a lightning bolt) or narrow zigzag when sewing seams. A straight stitch will not stretch with the jersey fabric, so your stitches could pop out.
Don’t allow the fabric to hang over the front of your sewing table when working- this can make it stretch out of shape.
4. Either trace off or cut out your pattern. I traced because this is an expensive pattern. If you are unsure about what size to make, check the ‘finished garment size’ table in the pattern. Get out a few RTW t-shirts that fit you well and measure them. You can then choose which size in the pattern corresponds to the type of shirt you normally wear. Since this pattern has tiny seam allowances, bear in mind that you won’t be able to let it out later if it is too small.
5. Cut out your fabric, preferably with a rotary cutter. Of course you can use scissors, but be mindful of the fabric stretching. The seam allowances on this pattern are tiny (1/4 inch, which is about 0.6cm). Make sure you bear this in mind when marking your notches!
6. The first step is to stitch the shoulders.
7. Next is stitching the sleeves in place, then the side seams.
9. The next step, the neckline, is the trickiest, but definitely manageable if you take your time. Stitch and press the neckband as indicated in the pattern.
The following instructions will help you to achieve even stretch in the neckband. Lay the neckband piece flat and place a pin in the fold at each end. Bring the pins together in the middle and lay the band flat again, pinning as before. These four pins divide the neckband equally into quarters.
In the same way, mark the centre front and centre back of your t-shirt with pins. Bring these pins together and place two more pins so that your neck-hole is also divided equally into quarters.
You will be stitching the neckband right sides together so it will be ‘flipped up’ when finished. If you are using a directional print like me, make sure you don’t pin it on upside-down!
Next pin your neckband to the neck of your shirt, matching the pins on the neckband piece to the pins on the t-shirt. You can then stretch the neckband between the pins and add some more pins to make it easier to stretch evenly when stitching. I used sixteen pins in total.
10. Carefully stitch on the neckband. Try on again to ensure it is sitting nicely.
11. The next step- stitching around the neckband to anchor the seam allowances- is optional. I looked and lots of my RTW tees don’t have it, but my fabric rolled a lot and I thought my neckline might look a bit lumpy if I didn’t.
I decided to use a zigzag stitch for aesthetic reasons, but I think a stretch stitch would have looked just as good. If you do zigzag, test how this looks on a piece of scrap fabric first.
12. Finally, press and pin the hems on the sleeves and bottom of the shirt. Try on first to admire your handiwork, and also do a final check on the length.
13. Stitch those hems. I used a zigzag again to match the topstitching around the neckline.
And you’re done! Wear your beautiful new t-shirt with pride.
Thanks for reading!
You can find more from me over on my blog @ Crafty Crusader