Posted in Projects on Saturday the 24th June 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello, again beautiful people! I hope you all have had a wonderful summer so far, and it continues to be splendid. If you didn’t know, it’s me Sophie from sopbac.com coming back to you with another product review for Minerva Crafts. This time it’s the Duchess Embroidery Thread Set. It is an amazing set of 72 thread flosses, and you could either choose to buy one with 36 solid colours (two of each) or 12 variegated colours (six of each) - I choose to go with the 36 colours to get as many different colours as possible.
First, I needed something to embroider on. I know I could have done it on any pieces of fabric really and that would be fine, but I wanted more. So I went into my handmade wardrobe to take a look. Maybe there was something there that I could spruce up. Lucky for me I found the perfect item.
This skirt is the Erin skirt from the Sew Over It’s Ebook: My Capsule Wardrobe. This is a picture of the skirt when I was just finished with it. After wearing the skirt a couple of times my hand sewing skills showed that I needed to work more on them. Because what I found in the closet was a skirt with only three buttons left. So this was perfect to fix up. I cut out the buttons and made a quick sketch of what I wanted to embroider on the skirt. It was going to be different kinds of flowers from the start, but what kind? And in which colours?
I’m not good at drawing so I did the best I could and laid the flosses accordingly. So this was my base. I did make other choices at the end, but I’ve written down every colour I’ve used for the different flowers so if you want to do the same you can.
The timeframe I used on the skirt was about 1.5 weeks. I only worked on it after work and most days I didn’t even look at it. So you could easily make it in less than a week if you have the time.
I have never done any free hand embroidery before. I have done some cross stitching, but not that much of that either. So this was new to me. Youtube and Pinterest became my best friend on learning some simple embroidery techniques. For the skirt, I used the following techniques (if you want to look it up): backstitch, stemstitch, satin stitch, french knot, chain stitch, lazy daisy and cast-on stitch. What I’ve learned is that you could come a long way with these basic stitches and make endless embroidery items. Before I show you the details of the finished project I have to tell you that I don’t know much about flowers other than I’m allergic, so I have no idea if these even exist, so just humour me, OK?
I’m very pleased with the skirt. Before it was a classic black skirt that wasn’t worn that much, and now it’s all the rave. I’ve seen this kind of skirt is the trend right now. It’s in all the stores and it seems like someone has been bitten by the embroidery bug. I don’t mind, I actually love it! And it’s more fun when you get to do it yourself! But I’m not done. Every embroidered skirt needs a buddy, right? So I had to make me some embroidered shoes as well. Every summer I have to have white sneakers. For me, that’s a summer accessory that never gets old. This year is no exception and I embroidered them too.
So here you have it. The whole outfit. I love the look and wish I had time to embroider everything in my wardrobe. I’m just going to dump a whole lot of photos of me now because I’m so pleased and want to show off!
If you want to make some of the same flowers I did, here is the list of colours I used so you could make a reference, for the skirt flowers left to right:
1. Stem: 6075 - Flower: 403 and 201
2. Stem: 6115 - Flower: 5105, 306 and 305
3. Stem: 105
4. Stem: 209 - Flower: 406
5. Stem: 506 - Flower: 516
6. Stem: 855 - Flower: 101 and 115
7. Stem: 206 - Flower: 109, 119 and 312
8. Stem: 212, Flower: 110, 113 and 5130
And for the shoes:
Small Roses 201 and 5105
Daises 516, 206, 406, 105, 110, 312, 403 and 305
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my latest project and I’m hoping to be back here soon! If not come hang with me on Instagram where I mostly spend my time at @sopbac_.
Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 23rd June 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
When I was offered the chance to review some of the Minerva Crafts Dressmaking Fabric I jumped at the occasion – who wouldn’t ?!
With a holiday on the horizon I opted for this silver grey Cotton Lawn Fabric which I thought would be perfect for a summer skirt in hot climates. The pattern would allow for nice detailing across the bottom and I thought the off-white would allow more occasions for the skirt to be worn post-holiday.
When the fabric arrived it was as I expected from the photos on the site, a silver grey sort of colour.
I chose to make Colette's Ginger Skirt Sewing Pattern for this fabric and I found it’s a great quick pattern for a making a summer skirt. The only problem is that I failed on the pattern matching front!
I am used to pattern matching but for some reason this pattern just did not want to match which has resulted in the below results!
Unfortunately I didn’t have enough fabric to start again from scratch as the border runs along the bottom of the fabric so in the words of Tim Gunn I had to ‘make it work!’
The good news is the fabric is a dream to work with. It eases through the sewing machine and I matched my thread with just a simple grey thread I already had in my supplies. Inserting an invisible zip was great first time and adding interfacing wasn’t a nightmare (which sometimes it can happen!)
Overall I’m very happy with the results and this fabric is definitely great for summer patterns.
The fabric is very transparent so as you can see I wore black leggings underneath my finished skirt. Maybe it’d be possible to line it next time?
The only thing I’d change again is to make sure I have more fabric to allow for more of the pattern in case things go wrong as it just runs the once along the fabric and doesn’t repeat.
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!