Posted in Projects on Monday the 15th October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
It's no secret that I absolutely love a bold floral print, so when I saw this one, it stood out to me immediately and even better with its black background I think this will be an all seasons round frock. It blends together elements of my favourite vintage prints with a modern fabric, so win win I think.
I want to talk to you about my work trousers!
In my day job, I work in a laboratory for a chemical company and there is a necessity for me to wear trousers (all the time) this is because I need to wear safety shoes/boots. But I also need to look smart and professional.
As I am 5 feet 9 (in old money) which is quite tall for a woman, sometimes I do struggle to buy trousers long enough unless I want to spend a lot of money on them. Let’s face it I don’t want to spend a lot on work wear when most of the time its hidden under a lab coat!
So, I thought it would be a good idea to make my own!!
Enter stage left, Poly Viscose Stretch Suiting Fabric from Minerva.
This fabric is ideal for every day work wear. Its fully machine washable at 40 degrees which is perfect for every day clothes. I really don’t have the time to be taking my every day work wear to be dry cleaned! Who does and does anyone want to pay for dry cleaning every week?
I asked for 2m of the Earth Tone as I didn’t know for sure how much I would need (this is available in 8 natural shades) and when it arrived I was really pleased with the colour its so deep and rich. I understand why it’s called Earth.
The drape is divine, I really think this would look great as a half/full circle skirt. Or as a dress because the fabric is so soft, and fluid.
I went ahead and pre-washed this then I line dried it (It doesn’t say whether it could be tumble dried) so with the fabric content being (67% Polyester, 29% Viscose and 4% Elastane) and the washing instructions just saying 40 degrees C, I decided it better to not tumble dry it.
I must say I don’t usually tumble dry, as it’s not as environmentally friendly as line drying, and I love to see a line of washing flapping in the breeze on a summer day!
Any way it washed lovely and didn’t fray much at all.
I proceeded to cut my pieces and then was faced with a dilemma!
Treat as a woven and use my sewing machine
Use my sewing machine with a stretch stitch and walking foot (even feed foot)
Use a straight stitch and a regular sewing foot?
I did a few test runs with my sewing machine, as the fabric had a really good stretch.
I really wanted to be able to press my seams open, not have to use my over locker, as I knew this would give me a better finish along the side seams and around the zip etc.
As you can see from image 2. this is the fabric with two dressmaking pins 10cm apart and the fabric relaxed.
Image 3. Has the pins still in the same position but I am stretching the fabric (gently) this shows a good ten percent stretch.
This is great, particularly if you are wearing an item such as trousers all day. I’m confidently hopeful that they will recover well when worn and not appear stretched out over the knees, after just a few hours.
After my test runs I was content that the fabric would be fine being sewn with my regular sewing machine and didn’t need to have the walking foot attached. It stretched slightly but soon recovered when pressed with steam. I must add that I did use the lightning bolt stitch around the crotch seam as I wanted to be sure the seam wouldn’t pop if under strain, ha-ha!
Here you can see the lovely folded edge around where the pocket lining meets the pocket facing.
The pattern I used was a lengthened version of The Frida flat front shorts, by Wardrobe by me. Which I already had in my pattern stash, it was easy enough just to lengthen the legs.
I was a little concerned that as the fabric was so soft and drapey that it wouldn’t hold a crease very well, but as you can see no such problem as the creases fronts are beautifully crisp.
It’s also got great front pockets.
Thanks for reading,
This month I was sent this gorgeous floral print Scuba Fabric in rose pink on black.
I thought it would be perfect to make a classic shift dress so I decided to use this pattern, Burda Young simple shift dresses 6721 Sewing Pattern in view B. This fabric has such a lovely design the look of an uncluttered basic dress would be just the thing.
It was very straightforward to cut out the only thing I would suggest is making sure your scissors are sharp as the fabric is thick to cut through on the fold. That is a good thing as it gives a nice structure to your garment but my scissors need to be sharpened and did snag a couple of times. I love the fact that there is no fray with this fabric, there are those projects where you end up covered in bits of cotton well this was not one of them, no mess or fuss just a nice pile of pieces ready to be sewn together.
Another tip is to make sure and use ball tip needles as this will stop your machine tearing at the fabric or missing stitches.
I decided against adding pockets to my dress as I felt it would not anything to the design, the floral pattern is detail enough. Although when I use this pattern again on a plain fabric I will probably go for pockets.
Other modifications I made were to just bring the side seams in a little, I know this loses something of the A shape but because this fabric holds so well I thought a more fitted approach would work. It was easy to do just try the garment on inside out when you have stitched it up and put a line of pins on the inside where you would like it to come in a little.
At the cutting stage I shortened the sleeve a little and marked this with pins, I also measured around my arm at the elbow as again I wanted my dress snug here so I marked this measurement with a pin on the cut pattern piece so I knew to do the sleeve seem a little wider.
As I have said there is no fray with this fabric so it is entirely up to you whether or not you finish the inside seams. I don’t always overlock so on this fabric I chose a zig zag stitch to finish it off, it worked really well as you can see here on the inner facings.
This dress pattern has a back centre seam where you can add a zip but as this fabric has a lovely amount of stretch there was no need for a zip, it just pulls over the head easily. This makes the fabric perfect for a beginner I feel as there is no need for fasteners, no issues with worrying about messy seems and plenty of forgiveness in the fabric if a beginner cuts pieces a touch incorrectly.
The sleeves and hem stitched up beautifully making this a really relaxing make, if fit really well first time of trying and my husband said how lovely it looked. This is the first time I have worked with Scuba Fabric and now I will definitely be choosing it again in the future. Thank you to Minerva for gifting me this fabric to try.
Thanks for reading,
Dianne @ sewinggreenlady
Hi Minerva Crafters, for this post I had the opportunity to review one of the Art Gallery Cotton Fabrics and specifically this cactus print. I just fell in love with this print the moment I saw it and found it so original as I had not seen something similar before, that of course was only until I received my fabric as it just happened that after getting my fabric I saw similar prints everywhere in the fabric district in Athens, none though as pretty and elegant as my cactuses if I may say so!
A few words about the fabric, it is a good quality cotton fabric, it does crease as all pure cotton do but it also takes iron very well and it is a light-medium weight, what makes this fabric special to me it is the beautiful print which actually reminds me of the cactus figs plant (with which I have a love – hate relationship but I won't analyze that here). Having seen various similar prints in the local market this one is really elegant and I love all those different shades of green and the little pops of yellow and coal red flowers.
I envisioned it to be a shirt dress, the truth is that with all the fabrics my first idea is a shirt dress as I love so much this sort of dresses, most of the times I go for the second idea that comes to my mind just for the sake of variety but this time I just went for it and chose the Style Arc Blaire Shirtdress Pattern featuring a small shirt collar, turned cuffs, shaped hem and interesting pocket contraction.
This is the first time I use a Style Arc pattern and I'm very happy with how the pattern is drafted, the instruction though are really minimal and although it would have not been a problem in case of a classic design, for this dress having that unusual to me pocket construction I did need to have some detailed instructions, I'm sure that I could figure it out if I had the time but I actually started this dress two days before leaving for vacations so although I regret it, I did take the shortcut and added the classic inseam pockets in order to be able to finish it on time for my vacations.
Apart from that, the construction of this dress is so easy and I had no problems at all while making it, I was very glad to find the perfect matching buttons from my stash, I had these buttons for years and always thought that I was never going to use them but here we are, they are perfect for this cactus print.
The shape of the dress is not really my style, I was never fond of boxy dresses but ever since I started sewing my own clothes I like trying different styles and sometimes I happen to change my mind after seeing it how it actually looks on me. I think I've given the boxy shape enough opportunities lately and I still don't think I like it on me but the good thing is that I can always put a belt on it and make it more appealing in my eyes. Same goes for this one, I really love wearing it with a belt and have enjoyed wearing it like that many times already.
Aida @ Ida Aida Sewing
Hi. Cheryl from Time To Craft here again. I'm trying to push myself out of the cotton comfort zone I've sunk into, when it comes to choosing fabric. Take a peep in my handmade wardrobe and you'll spy plenty of creations made from cotton, poplin and lawn, but not much else. There is a common theme. I know how cotton behaves.
Last year, I made my first satin blouse, which I absolutely love to wear, and making it wasn't half as hard as I'd imagined. Funny how that happens. It has become a bit of a favourite top and I always receive compliments when I wear it.
Buoyed with my success into this unknown silky territory, I was keen to try another light weight fabric. When the opportunity to try this crinkle Satin Fabric came along, I knew I should give it a try.
I wish I could show you all how perfectly this fabric drapes and moves. It is light, yet has enough weight to hang correctly. I'm not sure if all light weight fabric acts like this, but it will elegantly flow like a waterfall if allowed to drop. Not unlike a child's slinky toy, once enough of it tips over the edge. (Can anyone else hear that sound now?) The movement is definitely beautiful. I can imagine a full, long skirt showing this off to its best. It would swirl. The sort of fabric that catches you up a micro second later, when you walk.
The fabric is thin. Bearing in mind I'm used to cotton, I'd describe this fabric as very thin. Scarf thin. It needs lining or double layering for most dressmaking projects to keep it on the right side of modest. The crinkled texture makes it easy to handle. The fabric's finish is matt rather than shiny. The poppy pattern shows on both sides, with one side slightly more faded than the other. There were no glaring mistakes in the print that I noticed.
I washed the fabric in with my normal wash, resulting in no noticeable shrinkage. I line dried and the length of fabric kept its shape. Always good signs.
There is a choice of red, blue, grey or purple poppies. I chose purple. The poppies vary in size on the fabric. It goes in bands, gradually getting bigger, then smaller and bigger again, like a wave, going up the length of the fabric.
I didn't try to pattern match with only 2 metres to play with, as I felt the pattern was busy enough to hide it. I think I got away with it. When cutting out, I lined up the skirt pieces next to each other so they would almost match. Be prepared to order extra fabric if you need to match the poppies more precisely.
Next decision was which pattern I should use. I ruled out one dress pattern as the skirt was cut on the diagonal. The poppies grow up the grain of the fabric. I wasn't ready to make them slant haphazardly at a jaunty 45 degree angle. Instead I chose the Adele pattern from Simply Sewing magazine. It is simple, with dolman sleeves. I made a size 16 with no alterations.
For the lining, I went with purple. I tried black, white and purple. The fabric is thin enough to show a hint of the lining's colour. It was amazing how the fabric changed for each one. I opted for the purple as it made the poppies pop out more.
I'm used to cotton, so I was a little apprehensive about how this fabric would cope with being ironed, but it proved not a problem. I lowered the iron setting and found that a quick sweep of the iron gave me the flat seam edges that I needed, with no shiny patches. I probably should have used a cloth in between the fabric and the iron, but I was interested to see how it performed without.
The sewing of the fabric was straightforward. I changed to the thinnest, sharpest machine needle I could find, half way through as I found the fabric threads pulled when hit straight on by the bigger needle. Problem solved and it was easy enough to smooth the threads flat again.
I found that topstitching around the pocket edge gave me a crisp finish and will hopefully help to stop the curve sagging through use. I may go back and do the same around the waist seam.
The fabric does fray, but no surprise there. It wasn't a big problem. In fact, to begin with I was impressed how little it did fray. I neatened my seams and tidied up as I went along, which helped to keep it under control.
I am so pleased with the results. It is one of those dresses you put on and it almost feels like you are wearing nothing. It is so light and unrestrictive. I'm glad I lined it, otherwise I'd be forever checking it wasn't caught up at the back.
If I was going to use this fabric again, I'd choose a pattern that allowed the fabric to swish more. Maybe with a long, full skirt. Not that I'm disappointed with my straight dress. Not one bit. I just think it would be wonderful to move in a skirt that drapes and flows as well as this fabric.
Thank you for reading and wishing you all happy sewing.
Posted in Product Reviews on Sunday the 14th October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I’m excited to be back on the Minerva Crafts blog with something a bit different from my usual yarn-related posts. Now we are well into autumn, a new pair of handmade slippers seemed like the perfect solution for those chilly evenings. For this project, I used these Prym Leather Slipper Soles which are made of lovely grey leather with a soft and cosy plush filling. The slipper soles are available in 2 adult sizes (UK 3.5 – 5 and UK 5.5 – 7). The soles are also available in 6 different children’s sizes, so there is an option for everyone – you could even make matching slippers for all the family!
The soles come with two pattern options for making the slippers; a knitting pattern (using circular needles) and a sewing pattern. I was initially going to make knitted slippers using my Prym slipper soles as I am not a very confident sewer, but the step-by-step instructions for the sewing pattern seemed quite straightforward so I decided to take the plunge and give it a try! My slipper soles were in size UK 5.5 - 7 (EU sizes 39 - 41) so I followed the larger size of the pattern provided. One thing to note is that the pattern pieces are printed on the opposite side of the instruction sheet, so cutting out your pattern pieces means the instructions become a bit of a jigsaw! I’d recommend tracing the pattern pieces or making a copy of the instructions before you start. The sewing pattern for the slippers requires an outer jersey fabric and an inner fur fabric. I bought my fabrics from Minerva as I love the range of options available. I chose mint green Jersey Fabric with tiny stars for the outer fabric. This is quite a stable jersey which I thought would be a good choice as I hadn’t ever tried sewing jersey fabric before. The pattern recommends using fur for the inner lining fabric but I chose cerise pink Fleece Fabric instead, for a pop of contrasting colour.
To make the slippers, you cut out 4 pattern pieces from the outer fabric and 4 from the inner fabric, remembering to flip the pattern over for two of the pieces (keeping any design on the fabric the same way up), so you can put right sides of each fabric together to make each slipper. You then pin two of the outer pieces and two of the inner pieces right sides together and sew up the back seam and the front, leaving a gap at the top. Once this step is complete, you attach the lining to the outer jersey by placing the lining inside the outer fabric and sewing around the top edge to attach the two fabrics. You then turn the outer piece right side out and attach the bottom edges of the inner and outer fabrics using a zigzag stitch.
As I had never tried sewing with jersey before, I was a bit worried about how this would work out, but I was pleasantly surprised. I found it quite easy to sew together my pattern pieces to make each slipper. I also found a brilliant Prym “how-to” video on YouTube which runs through the process step by step - I found this very helpful.
Next, it was time to attach the soles. First, you need to pin the soles in place before attaching them to the base of the slipper using a series of cross stitches. I tried my slippers on after my first attempt at pinning the soles in place, and I was glad I did as they were far too big! I ordered the larger size of slipper soles as I was between the two size options, but with hindsight I think the smaller size would have been more suitable for me as I ended up folding quite a lot of the slipper fabric under at the base when attaching the soles, to try to reduce the excess fabric at the sides for a better fit. After a couple more attempts at pinning the soles in place, I was happy with the fit, and I was ready to sew on the soles. I had some Metallic Silver Thread in my stash so chose to use this to attach the soles, to add a bit of sparkle.
Attaching the soles was probably the trickiest part of the entire project. I found it quite difficult to keep the fabric flat and smooth, to prevent the soles from ruching up at the edges. Again, it probably would have been easier if I had made the smaller slipper size as I wouldn’t have had so much excess fabric to contend with. It was all worth the effort though as I’m really pleased with the finished product! The slippers fit perfectly and are very comfortable and cosy to wear.
Prym slipper soles are brilliant as they provide a wide range of options for making your own slippers. Any yarn or fabric could be used to make your own custom design slippers and you can also attach them to your favourite pair of woollen socks - the possibilities really are endless! I would highly recommend giving the Prym slipper soles a try, they would make great presents too. This project has also given me the confidence to try some more sewing projects using jersey, as it really wasn’t as scary as I had feared!
Thank you so much for reading and thank you to Minerva for giving me the opportunity to try out this fab product.
Hello again! I have a fun fall themed project to share with you today. I wanted to first disclaim that I love working with wool. I love to knit with wool, spin wool fiber into yarn and sew wool cloth.
Today I will be sharing about how to make felted wool acorns and felted wool hearts. The acorns are a 3 dimensional felted project and the red hearts are a flat felting project.
The inspiration for the felted acorn project was a collection of natural acorn tops that I’ve been saving in my craft stash. I gathered these acorn tops outdoors a few years ago and have been waiting for the right project to make with them.
The inspiration for the felted heart project was for a simple a gift to make. I thought a sweet felted heart would be a special gift for friends or family to share with them. You can place a few drops of an essential oil on the heart to make a scented diffuser (in a linen drawer) or for a little one to hold in their hands and smell to enjoy.
If you’re not familiar with this craft you might ask, what is needle felting? Wool fiber contains microscopic barbs. Needle felting punctures the wool fibers to grab these barbs and the result connects the wool fibers together into a solid material. As you may note, using wool is a requirement for this process, with its unique felting properties.
I wanted to share up front that I REALLY enjoy making projects with Clover products as they always have very helpful and detailed instructions. My background is in mechanical engineering so the technical elements that Clover includes with their crafts is a special detail to me. I share this as my opinion, Clover is not sponsoring this post. The following are photos of the instructions included with the felting needle tool.
- Yellow/Red/Fall shades of Roving Wool
I used natural acorn tops with this project (that I collected outside). If you don’t have access to natural acorn tops, you could use these Filigree Cap Findings as a substitute. If you use this jewelry finding, I’d also recommend using a jewelry post to puncture through the felt and attach the Filigree cap to the felted acorn. I would not recommend using hot glue to attach the jewelry filigree cap with the felted wool
Hot glue gun and hot glue
As you can tell from the photos, the acorns are a 3 dimensional project. To start, I grabbed a bit of wool. The wool pieces that I used were multi-dyed locks of wool. This means that the wool looked like locks of hair and was slightly matted together in each lock. They tended to felt better when I first teased out the wool, to open up the locks.
Place the wool on top of the felting mat and start felting the pieces of wool together. Push the needle felting tool down and up multiple times.
Pick up the wool off of the mat, turn, and felt again.
Continue this process as you’re rolling the fiber and felting the wool into a round object.
BE CAREFUL not to pierce your fingers as you are needle felting. A safer method is to felt the wool without your fingers on the mat (but I preferred to carefully hold the wool on the mat to hold it in a circular shape as I felted). You can measure the felted wool as you go to determine the shape you would like.
Add hot glue to the inside of the acorn cap
Add the wool felted acorn to the acorn cap.
If you find that you didn’t select enough wool fiber, you can add more in layers as you go. If you found that you selected too much wool fiber (as I did in the photo below), you can trim the excess wool away.
A really fun aspect of this project is that as you felt wool, it becomes a solid material that can be cut for shaping.
As I trimmed the acorn pieces, I had these smaller bits that were the leftover pieces.
I’ve been in a “patchwork” place lately, using up fabric scraps for new projects, piecing smaller pieces of fabric together instead of throwing them away. I thought a fun use for the scraps from the felted acorns would be to place them inside an open pendant.
You can place drops of essential oil on the wool pieces to slowly diffuse into the air as you wear the necklace. The pendant shown in the photo is an open, locket style pendant. I enjoy wearing lavender, lemongrass, or grapefruit essential oils in my scrap pendant.
Start this step by printing out this heart template below onto card stock or a thicker weight paper.
This dyed red wool blend was my stash. I was excited to make a flat object with this project as well.
I’ve found with felting that it’s helpful to layer the fibers. I like to start with less fiber with each layer (rather then starting out with a larger amount of fiber to felt).
I first place a thin layer of the fiber out on the felting mat.
Punch the needlefelting tool multiple times across the fiber on the mat
3. Flip the fiber over so that the wrong side of the fiber is now facing up and the right side of
the fiber (that you just felted) is flipped to be on the mat.
4. Punch the needle felting tool again across the fiber.
5. As you continue this process and continue to flip the fiber, I then hold up the fiber to do a
“window pane” test. I like to hold the fiber up to the light to see where there are thinner
parts of the felted piece.
6. I add new pieces of fiber, perpendicular to the existing fiber to build layers over these
thinner portions of the fiber.
7. Continue this process, repeating steps 1 to 5.
8. When you come to a place that you’re happy with the thickness of the fiber, you can begin
the process of cutting out the heart shapes.
The template that I used was a piece of copper metal. I traced the shape and included the outline in the heart template file so that you can recreate this project as well.
Lay the heart template on top of the felted fiber.
Cut around the template, cutting through the wool fiber and cutting out the heart shape.
After the heart is cut out, trim and shape the heart as needed to get the desired look of the heart.
I found that I preferred to needle felt the heart again to compress the fibers more after they are cut.
Enjoy the heart, give it as a gift, make more for yourself (or you could even use the heart shape as a pendant for a necklace).
If you find that you enjoyed this project and want to get more into wool felting, I did want to note a detail about the needles in the felting tool. Clover includes 5 fine needles in the tool. The refill needle options include either sets of 5 fine or heavy needles.
Needle felting does take some time. It's worth it but I wanted to note that detail, for reference. It is also helpful to go slow when needle punching with the fine needles. If you move the tool around too fast (while felting), you may break a needle (as I did after making multiple felted acorns). Going slow with the felting process will prevent the needles from breaking (I found).
I wish you all a very happy day with your own crafting adventures!
Today I am reviewing a lovely mid grey Ponte Jersey Fabric from Minerva Crafts vast collection of beautiful fabrics. I decided upon this ponte with little idea of what I would use it for, instead waiting for inspiration to strike. When it arrived I immediately thought of the Lodo Dress by True Bias, a simple cocoon shaped shift dress that comes in two lengths, above the knee and a midi version which hits mid-calf. I only had enough material for the shorter version so the fabric decided what I would be making. I really think the simplicity of this fabric provides the best back drop for a simple, staple everyday dress. Something every lady needs in her wardrobe!
This ponte is deliciously soft to touch, really drapey and not too thick like some ponte fabrics I have used in the past. Plus it comes in tonnes of colours which means a new dress for every day of the week!! You can see the smooth sheen on the fabric in the photo below – which also features a peak of the Kimono I have been pairing this dress with for a spark of summer colour.
As with most ponte fabrics this one is a breeze to sew with. It is easy to cut out as it doesn’t stretch when laid out and being a thicker jersey it handles easily and sews up a treat. It’s perfect for anyone nervous of sewing with jersey and ideal for complete beginners. I used my serger to sew the dress together as for the most part this fabric is plain so there was no need for intricate pattern matching but where I did use my sewing machine it was easy to sew with on there too.
As it’s a summer dress it was really important that the fabric felt comfortable against the skin as there was no barrier of tights etc…and it definitely is. It is described as buttery soft on the product page and I think I have to agree. Is it too thick for a summer dress? Possibly on the warmest of days but for an evening it’s perfect. As a bonus I think it will work well in the winter time as a cosy layering item. To me however the great thing about this type of fabric is that it holds shape without looking like cardboard so you can see the cocoon shape of the dress without it wrinkling up or draping so much it loses its silhouette.
The Lodo dress itself is a very elegant and simple dress, constructed of only 3 main pieces with woven facings. Of course I didn’t read ‘woven’ until it came to sewing them on so be aware of that and choose co-ordinating fabric as there is a small chance you may get a peak of facing from the armhole or back of the neck. The facings make for a really neat and tidy finish inside and also stabilise the areas that get a lot of wear. I also stabilised the shoulder seams with stay tape, more out of habit than necessity as I don’t feel this fabric is liable to stretching out as much as a thinner jersey, but better safe than sorry!
Overall I think this is a perfect pairing of fabric and pattern but I can also see this jersey being used for a simple cardigan like the Grainline Studio Driftless cardigan and possibly some wide leg jersey trousers such as the ones in Wendy Wards new book about sewing with jersey. And with all those lovely colours available I am sure I will be going back for more soon!
Thanks for reading,