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#PatternoftheWeek - Kwik Sew 4098

It always happens doesn't it. Here I am offering you a lovely summer dress pattern for our #PatternoftheWeek and it's blinking pouring down! Oh I hope that's not our summer over. Anyway fellow sewists think summer, think meadows, think pretty flowers and that is what I think of when I look at my choice of Sewing Pattern for you for this week. It is Kwik Sew 4098. See what I mean....
I have to say Kwik Sew Patterns are fast becoming up there amongst my favoured patterns. I love the white paper (don't ask me why) and I love their instructions. My only niggle would be the choice. I then think "how come" when the pattern book is as thick as other pattern books. When you start to delve into Kwik Sew patterns you realise they do a lot of more unusual patterns. A good quarter of the book is taken by 'Ellie Mae Designs' which are mostly for little girls dresses and crafts including bags. The pages just ooze colour and in my opinion are just beautiful patterns. Over half of the book is taken with these and even more craft and childrens. There is a decent choice of 'learn to sew' patterns with something for most people to start their sewing journey with. So to be fair that leaves under half the book for everything else. A few of their designs can leave a little to be desired and can even look a little old fashioned but hey when you find certain ones they  just jump out at you and are simply amazing. And remember a lot of the little girl patterns use a few fabrics and these can often be cut from fat quarters, therefore getting a fantastic variety.
On looking at the instructions for Kwik Sew patterns I nearly always pick up some kind of tip and this pattern is no exception. I sometimes like facings especially if you are using cotton, I think it gives a little more body and gives a nice crisp edge. However some patterns give you a neckline facing and also an armhole facing and these you have to overlap and hand sew down. Now this I do not like! I think it creates unnecessary bulk. On this design the neck facing is applied and look how the facing comes straight to the armholes. Take a look at the following 2 photos which show this and also the next stage where it is trimmed, clipped and turned to the inside.
After the side seams are sewn, bias binding is attached to the armholes. Look on the next photo how neat that looks. So you are getting the added body of the facing without the bulk.
Now for some fab fabrics. For the main part of the dress I have chosen our Floral Sprig Cotton Poplin Fabric which is £7.99 per mt. I have teamed this with one of our Quilting Fabrics now this can be purchased by a fat quarter or by the mt. You will need just half a mt or if you place a seam at the centre back of the belt you could actually only need a fat quarter. The following photo shoes these two fabrics together.
For chillier days or nights how about knitting a cardigan to top the dress. One of my favourite yarns is the Sublime Extra Fine Merino DK which as the name suggests is made from 100% merino wool. The Knitting Pattern I have chose is Sublime 6093...
Shade '20 Mocha' in the Knitting Yarn was my perfect choice. It is what I would call a donkey brown. This yarn is beautiful to knit with, it just glides through your fingers. 
I knew without looking which button I was going to choose. Our beautiful Two Toned Round Buttons. Quite a big button but I think it would look fantastic on the 'zigzag' front of this cardigan. However there are smaller sizes in this button if you prefer. 
Last but not least a photo of everything together. Cool or what!
Thanks for reading and don't forget to share your #MinervaMakes with us on Instagram...Vicki and I love seeing what youv'e been making!
Annette xx

Wild Cardigan

I bet you thought I'd forgot about my wild cardigan! Well I sort of had done but not in a bad way!! I can hear you saying "how can you forget about a part finished cardigan in a yarn as beautiful as Wild" I just kept thinking "I'll finish it for this occasion, then I'll finish it for that occasion". I'm sure you've all been there and then end up getting nowhere fast! 
Well now I'm planning a weekend away in July and no matter how lovely the weather has been lately you can guarantee it will certainly be cooler that weekend. So with it being quite near I started thinking what can I wear, especially at nights and my mind wandered to my 'Wild' cardigan. I'd already finished the back on my 'Wild' cardigan that I mentioned in a previous blog post and am now about to start the fronts.
I have decided that I want pockets in the fronts of this cardigan but I don't like patch pockets. I know it would be argued they are easier and yes I'd agree the knitting part is easier but sewing them on to the fronts can be a real pain! In as much as getting them perfectly straight and making sure the stitching is good and equal. I much prefer to knit them into the garment and so to make things easier I would strongly advise to knit both fronts together, mainly because what you do on one pocket you will automatically do the same on the second pocket but also because this is one of those yarns where it is harder to count your rows, at least you will know both fronts are the same length. 
My rule for knitting 2 lots of knitting together, as in sleeves etc., is after every second row make sure the two yarns are separate, keeping one ball by your side and one ball in front of you will help keep them apart. 
By holding up the back piece against your body you can get an idea where to place the pockets. I have decided that I want the top of my pockets to be approx 8" above the hemline so the first job is to knit the 2 fronts up to 8".
I am knitting the 2nd size which has 25 sts on each front. To make it easy I am using the centre 15 sts for my pocket top and therefore this leaves 5 sts at the side edge and 5 sts at the front edge. And so using 2 more balls of yarn and another pair of 8mm needles I am casting on 2 lots of 15 sts. I am working in stocking stitch for approx 5" and ending on a knit row. This means that there will be approx 3" from the bottom of the pocket to the hemline of the pockets when they are finished.
The pockets are knitted in over two rows and so 1st row reads as follows.
1st row - Knit 5, cast off 15, knit to end.
2nd row - Purl 5, purl the 15 sets of the first pocket lining then purl to end.
Quite easy don't you think? Now it's just a case of following the rest of the pattern. I would suggest though, when you have knit a few inches more in stocking stitch to then sew the backs of your pockets in place. Until they are sewn down it can actually distort the length of knitting. 
Well 2 sleeves later (again both knit together) I've just the bands and sewing left to do.
On the right front band I need to pick up 56 sts evenly up the straight front edge (this takes me up to the start of the neck shaping). I find it much easier if I just spend 2 mins putting markers along this edge. I use ordinary Safety Pins but obviously you can use Stitch Markers or just small lengths of Cheap Yarn.
As you can see from the photo the start of the neck shaping is shown by a yarn marker, the bottom is where the start yarn is and then inbetween are 3 pins dividing it up into quarters. If this had been a very long cardigan I would have further divided these sections into eighths thus helping in correctly having the right amount of stitches in each little section. I cannot stress (in my humble opinion) how important this is. It is the equivalent of what buttons to choose. It can make or break a garment!
My last tip in this section is to start picking your stitches up with the length of yarn left over from your cast on. It saves having 2 lengths to sew in and it won't unravel in any way.
So my 56 sts divides evenly into 4 lots of 14, so there will be 14 sts picked up inbetween each marker. Next, 23 sts to be picked up along the shaped neck. I have divided this section into 2 so 11 sts in each half plus 1 st where you feel it slots in best. For me on this project it slipped in very nicely where the middle is. It's not too important where these 'odd' sts are place so long as they are. Last but not least 8 sts to be picked up from the back neck. 87 sts in total. From here on, you work 4 rows rib making a buttonhole on the 2nd and 3rd rows then cast off.
Now I am using the end of a ball of yarn and just realised I may run out. I have measured that I have 7.75 mts of yarn left to work 1 row and cast off. So my last row must not take more than say 3.6 so let's see....... Hey yes plenty to do the cast off row! Just one more band to knit. So this time my same rules apply only I am picking up from the back neck first, down the front slope and down the front straight edge. Because there is no buttonhole I just have to work 4 rows and cast off. Quick tip, when casting off leave enough yarn after that last stitch, about 10" to sew the little seam at back neck. 
The Button I've chose comes from the Dill range and is a vintage style leather effect one. Isnt it fab?
So now here I am sewing up my Wild cardigan (at long last). Another tip (I'm full of them today aren't I) is keep all lengths of yarn attached to your knitting until you 100% know you don't need it anymore. For example I have just sewn up the shoulder seams and I am left with about 12" - this may come in handy when I am sewing the sleeve in. No problem if I don't need it, just weave in and trim off after I've sewn in the sleeves.
Well what do you think, worth waiting for or what?!
Just as a reminder in case you would like to knit this for yourself, I used Wild Yarn by Sirdar and the Knitting Pattern I used is number 7970.
Thanks for reading,
Annette xx

Floral Hand Embroidered Skirts & Shoes with Sophie

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 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:

Rose 101

Small Roses 201 and 5105

Leafs 209

Stem 506

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_.


Cotton Lawn Ginger Skirt by Ruth

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.

But I'm happy with my skirt and can't wait to pack it for my holiday!
Thanks for reading,
Ruth @ A'hem!
1 Comment

Guest Post: Tropical Leaf New Pattern 6207 by Sarah

Hi everyone! I'm Sarah, from London. Usually you will find me over at my blog 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!

Happy stitching everyone :) 


Sirdar Snuggly Tiny Tots Yarn Review by Liz

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 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.

Right Side 

Wrong Side

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!

Liz Elsworth


Product Review: Clover Pompom Makers by Sally

Hi all!

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!

But here is moi modelling the freshly made Pom Pom earrings using Small 35mm and extra small 20mm makers:

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!

Have fun!

Sal xx


#PatternoftheWeek - Marcy Tilton's Vogue 9254

Yet again Vogue have released some fab New Sewing Patterns. None more so than Vogue Pattern 9254 and I am pleased to offer this to you as our #PatternoftheWeek which is 50% off for this week only!
This dress is full of panels with an unusual shape. See the line art...
The following photos show some of the 'weird' shaping within this dress.
The above photo looks like it could be the start of a pocket but nothing is mentioned about a pocket on the pattern. It says "The shaping/extensions are designed to give depth and dimensions to the dress".
Look at the shaping on this next piece. I love this sort of 'odd ball' shaping.
If you choose to do version B this is all in one colour and takes from 2.6 to 2.8 mts but if you decide to opt for version A (my favourite) there are actually 4 fabrics involved. The main fabric and 3 contrasts. 
The following photos show these contrasting fabrics. On the first photo I am pointing to the main fabric which is piece 5.
Piece 4 is cut from contrast 1, this is the right front.
The following photo's show the back view. 
Piece 1 which is the right back is cut from contrast 2, this fabric is also used for the neckband. The last photo in this section shows pieces 2 and 3 which are cut from contrast 3. These pieces are the left back and the right side back (where I am pointing to on the above photo)  and also used for both armbands.
Phew!! glad that's over. Now you can just see peeping out of the left side on version A (on the pattern front) a diagonal stripe. As you can see from one of the above photos, pieces 2 and 3 are cut on the bias, now this is purely and simply for the visual effect of diagonal stripes, not in any way for how the dress will hang because on looking at the cutting layout of version B they are cut straight down the grain.
Before I finish talking about the pattern I must mention the neck and armbands. The pattern gives pretty indepth instructions on attaching these bands. Remember you are using 2 different fabrics for the armbands and the neckband and these will no doubt react differently so this instruction is helping you to see the differences and how to sew them on. 
Now for some fabrics. My old favourite Plain Ponte Roma Fabric would be the obvious choice for Contrast 1 and for the main I would use this Ponte Roma Fabric which is a small dog-tooth check. For the back I would choose this Ponte Roma Knit Fabric which is a black and white stripe and wait for this my last choice would be this Fabric, which is actually a diagonal stripe ponte roma so you could use this as it is!! 
I couldn't help but notice we have some lovely navy ponte roma's in stock and decided to show you these as well!!
From left to right these are Spotty FabricThin Stripe FabricWide Stripe FabricPlain Fabric and last but not least Leaf Fabric.
I hope you like my selections for today, a little different don't you think? Thanks for reading.
Annette xx

Cross Stitch Review with Variegated Embroidery Threads by Tina

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.

Best wishes,

Tina @ Simply in Stitches


Guest Post: A Quilted Coco by Lara

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!

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