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Archives: January 2017

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#PatternoftheWeek - Art Gallery Fabrics

And now for something completely different!
This week I am offering to you the Art Gallery Fabrics Ladies Maxi Dress Sewing Pattern as our #patternoftheweek, with 50% off for this week only. 
Where is this different you may ask. Well not only do you get your sewing pattern but all your instructions come as a PDF file. Plus you get a tutorial on making continuous bias-binding!
How cool is that? The pattern pieces are printed on good quality white paper that won't tear easily when working with it, pinning on fabric etc., Ideal for anyone who uses the method of fitting where you actually fit the pattern pieces onto the body. 
I've had a look at the PDF and I'm thinking "I quite like this for a change". Everything is in colour, the following photo is just the symbols used.
Each instruction is followed by the actual sewing, the following photo shows a drawing of where some pleats will be folded and underneath those pleats actually being sewn. I love this touch.
My only concern is the measurements. The next photo shows 'standard body measurements' and the following photo shows 'finished dimensions'. With it being American everything is in inches but don't worry if you are used to metric, all metric measurements are given too. 
 All sizes are on the one pattern so at least you know you are not buying the wrong size. When studying the above two sets of measurements you will see that the bust measurements are the same, whereas the waist and hips are a few inches bigger. I'm not saying this is wrong, just seems a little unusual in that there is no 'give' in the bust measurement. With not having made any of these patterns I cannot comment any further but would be very interested in any of your comments about these patterns. All I can say is measure yourself carefully and be wary that the bust measurement has no 'give'. The 'sizings' are different to Simplicity etc., which we all realise more and more are different to shop bought, ready to wear, sizes. To give you an example, on this pattern size large is size 10/12 with a bust measurement of 39" (as I said earlier, to fit 39" and also measures 39"). When I look at Simplicity patterns they are saying size 10 is 32.5" bust and 12 is 34". Now I am a size 12 most of the time in shop bought clothes but I measure approx 39". So if I was making this dress I have to say I would measure the actual pattern piece.
I must admit I would love to make this dress for my hols especially in Batik Fabric and so today I will show you some of these wonderful fabrics. 
My first choice is this Hand Printed Batik Fabric. This looks remarkably like the fabric on the pattern and is priced at just £7.99 per mt as are all the fabrics I am showing you today. Our website description of this fabric is...
 "This beautiful batik fabric is hand printed in India and features a busy floral design. Due to the hand processes involved in creating this fabric, every metre is unique and irregularities in colour and print are all part of its naive charm! It is 100% cotton and a medium weight, perfect for making so many styles of clothing including dresses, tops, shirts, skirts and more. Or why not bring this fabric into your home by making cushions!"
I quite like the idea of using another colour in this same fabric for the contrasting sash but hey wait while you see some more of the batiks!
This Fabric has a very pretty butterfly within the design, I just love this pink shade.
A slightly different look in Batik is 'Bubble Batik Fabric.' 
This leaves print is just such a fabric and the description is...

"This beautiful bubble batik fabric is hand printed in India and features a colourful spotty circles design. The process for creating 'Bubble Batik' fabric remains the same as Batik but in bubbled fabric, after wax printing the fabric is subjected to a crinkling process where the ground fabric is shrunk in both warp and weft direction by 25%, creating bubbles on the wax printed areas. Areas covered with wax remain the same whereas the base fabric shrinks by 25% creating a bubbled textured appearance. Due to the hand processes involved in creating this fabric, every metre is unique and irregularities in colour and print are all part of its naive charm! It is 100% cotton and a medium weight, perfect for making so many styles of clothing including dresses, tops, shirts, skirts and more. Or why not bring this fabric into your home by making cushions!"

This method creates a little more texture which I love. 

Last but certainly not least I must show you one of the Hand Painted Batik Fabrics

For me, this is stunning, our website description is...

"This beautiful fabric is hand painted in India. You can feel the brushstokes of the paint on the fabric surface, and the paint has a slight iridescent quality. Due to the hand processes involved in creating this batik fabric, every metre is unique and irregularities in colour and print are all part of its naive charm! It really is a stunning fabric. It is 100% cotton and a medium weight, perfect for making so many styles of clothing including dresses, tops, shirts, skirts and more. Or why not bring this fabric into your home by making cushions."

Batik is a wonderful fabric, I do like to wash it first but from then on it is a dream to work with, sewing and ironing it and especially to wear it, is just wonderful. What comes across in each of the above descriptions is how each process is done by hand and therefore irregularites do occur. It has to be said this to me is part of the fabrics charm but it is worth mentioning as some customers do purchase a little more if they want to 'place' their pieces in a certain way.
My last photo for today is so me, I'm sure you will relate to it too haha...
Happy Sewing and thanks for reading.
Annette xx

#FabricFriday - Boiled Wool

Now my lovely sewing buddies - I have to admit I have never sewn in Boiled Wool Fabric, always fancied it but up until now we haven't stocked it here at Minerva. Guess what! We now have 3 choices of boiled wool which altogether means we have 21 colours. Prices range from £18.99 to £23.99 per mt. So although I haven't sewn in them yet (that will hopefully change soon) I'm hoping I can give you an insight into what they are like. 
I do think what is quite interesting about boiled wool is that it doesn't fray and therefore if the garment is not lined then lots of time can be saved by not having to overlock or bind the seams edges. What I haven't realised before is the amount of stretch in boiled wool or to re-phrase that, the amount of give, which considering there is no lycra content is pretty good. 
I'll start with the rust colour from this Range of Fabric. This fabric comes in 8 colours, an unusual array of colours being that there are 3 shades of pink, 2 shades of brown, a black, an olive green and this beautiful rust that I have chose to show you.
What do you think of this Sewing Pattern? It's from the Butterick-Lisette latest range. I have fallen in love with it, just take a look at the lineart drawing.
Look at those curved seams where the pockets are enclosed! And check out that lower back pleat. Thought I'd add a button to complete the look. I chose these Buttons. This is red/rust in colour with an antique finish enhancing the button. The jacket is actually lined and, yes, I would probably line it, but if you were taking advantage of the boiled wool then it could be left lining free! 
Back to the boiled wool, this is our website description...
"A beautiful quality boiled wool coat weight fabric perfect for making winter coats and jackets that will keep you warm in the colder months. It is a medium to heavy weight fabric and has a boucle texture and a soft drape. Boiled wool is easy to cut and sew, making it a great choice for warm autumn and winter dressmaking. The cut edges of this fabric do not fray and therefore hemming and lining your boiled wool garment is optional. It comes in a lovely range of colours and is a great price for such a lovely quality fabric."  
The 2nd Boiled Wool I want to show you comes in 8 colours, this time including a beautiful winter white and wonderful warm mahogany. This comes in at £20.99 per mt, has a slightly different wool content and is ever so slightly thicker. I have chose to show you the pink which most little girls would love and yes we are all still little girls at heart! How pretty would this look in say a cape. McCalls Sewing Pattern 7477 is just such a pattern and bear in mind that all McCalls patterns are on offer at half price at the moment. 
Version B has a superb frill down the front and for me would look brill in a pale fabric such as this. But for a slightly more conventional cape, how about version D with a hood or version E which is collarless. I've added to this, guess what, some Dill Buttons again, a little darker than the fabric but they do blend well.
I cannot not mention my lovely Flower Buttons. Yes I know I've mentioned them a few times but I can't help it, don't they look pretty. Both shades of pink buttons come in both designs.
The 3rd Boiled Wool Fabric is very similar again but seems to have a little more 'give' thus making it a little like a heavier Ponte Roma. I just have to show you this in the cerise pink because wouldn't it make a gorgeous short jacket like in McCalls Pattern 5668 again half price at the moment. 
This is a super easy jacket pattern that is worn either edge to edge or version B has a tie belt which is quite cleverly sewn into the side back seams.
Seems to be very easy instructions throughout this pattern including lots of very useful tips from designer Nancy Zieman. Only the sleeves are lined in this jacket so this makes full use of the boiled wool not fraying. The sleeves are lined before they are sewn into the jacket, therefore nice and easy. I must say the reason I don't like unlined jackets is because you end up 'tugging' the jacket on over say the sleeves of a jumper and I feel they don't lie correct. However because the sleeves are lined in this jacket it 'avoids' that problem. I think I'll add this to my list of 'definitely to do' patterns.
Again thank you for reading,
Annette xx

#PatternOfTheWeek - Burda 7031

That time of year has come round again. Wedding plans are in full swing and then suddenly the Mother of the Bride realises she hasn't spent nearly enough time on thoughts of what to wear herself. We have found this to happen a couple of times recently here at the Minerva Craft Centre and you can see the panic in their eyes. They have looked round every possible shop, tried numerous dresses all to no avail! Then the brainwave occurs "let's make our own". We recently had a lovely lady in this very situation so we got numerous sewing patterns out at the request of this customer, but we settled on Burda Sewing Pattern 7031.
Out of the thousands of Sewing Patterns we stock here at Minerva of which there are numerous fabulous Indie patterns, my first thoughts were "why pick this one, it's such a plain dress" but when we started looking at fabrics, especially lace, this pattern was perfect. It hardly has any seams and only 2 darts in the whole dress. Add to that a gorgeous little cap sleeve and a very demure high neckline and I think you have the most perfect style for Mother of the Bride. It does help as well when Version B is made up in a lace fabric.
So if you want a smart, simply sewn dress pattern to make up with a beautiful lace fabric look no further and take advantage of this being our #patternoftheweek with 50% off. 
My first fabric choice today is our amazing Scalloped Edge Lace Fabric. This is a stunning lace with highlights of gold running through it. As you can see from my photo it looks pretty good over cream. I have photographed it over our Stretch Lining Fabric.
Although you can quite clearly see the lace pattern, my next photo hopefully shows you the hints of metallic gold.
Our web description of this beautiful lace is...
"This beautiful fabric is an exquisite heavy guipure lace which has a pretty scalloped detail on both edges. Part of the Minerva Crafts couture bridal collection for the discerning bride. The finish on this lace fabric is of the highest quality and leaves no doubt about the quality of this fabric. It is the perfect special fabric to make your own wedding dress, but can also be used for formal and special occasion wear such as prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses and mother of the bride."
My next choice is another Lace Fabric in teal. I adore this colour and have photographed it over a pale turquoise stretch lining and also over a mid blue non-stretch lining. The two different coloured linings gives 2 totally different looks, in fact the 2nd photo gives a two-tone effect.
My 3rd choice and my favourite of today is another of our Heavy Lace Fabrics but in a different design. It is just beautiful and I've tried to show you the versatility by photographing it with 3 different colours underneath. 
No 1 is with the cream stretch lining...
No 2 is over a non-stretch grey-ish colour of lining...
And just look at that edging...
Next photo is over beige stretch lining...
And the last photo is over dusky pink stretch lining...
Now as you will have probably gathered these stunning lace fabrics are all between £35 and £45 per mt so I'd like to finish today on a clearance fabric to give you a cheaper option. This Floral Lace Fabric is just £6.99 per mt but is only available in this one stunning colour - Coral. 
I must admit I love it and placed over the stretch lining in coral it looks absolutely gorgeous. But yet again strike while the iron is hot, so to speak, once it is gone it'll be gone forever.
Yet again thankyou for reading my blog post,
Annette x

#FabricFriday - Jersey Fabrics with Simplicity 1463

I am starting this post by jumping in with both feet and showing you this fantastic Clearance Fabric. This is one of the most fabulous jersey fabric I have ever seen. And best of all it is at an incredible price of just £4.99 per mt.
The colour is made up of a soft blue and a marl grey. It is very soft and drapey being made of polyester and viscose. The slub effect adds to the overall subtleness of this fabric and makes it ever so pretty. I cannot praise it enough but must warn you, with being clearance, it is non-reorderable so once it's gone, it's gone.
I have been trying to find some fabric to make this beautiful top, Simplicity Sewing Pattern 1463 and this jersey certainly fits the bill.
I have teamed this gorgeous jersey with this fabulous corded Lace Fabric in navy (very similar to the pattern) which has a scalloped edge on both sides. It comes in 33, yes that's right 33 stunning colours and is priced very competitively at £14.99 per mt. I must point out that this lace is not classed as a stretch lace in that it has no lycra content but there is certainly enough natural stretch in this lace fabric for this loose fitting top. (If it was for say a very fitted pull-on vest top or similar, I would not recommend it).
Take a look at my next photo to see how brilliantly these two fabrics look together.
A quick peep at the instructions gave me no concerns as to the complexity of this pattern. The yolk back is cut from lace and sewn directly onto the lower back which is cut from the jersey.
The hardest part, if you can call it that, is attaching the front raglan sleeve to the front. You need to pivot the fabric at the inner corner so that after topstitching it will look like no 8.
I just couldn't leave out the striped top on this pattern. This version is mega easy. It has a front, a back, a sleeveband and a neckband in two parts, front and back. I love how the front hemline is higher than the back hemline and should this 'look' date at some point, it would be so easy to straighten off this hemline which would leave you with a very cute looking 'boxy' top. The fabric I have chose is a Stripey Ponte Roma weight, which will hang really well and sit perfectly on the hips.
Considering you only need 1.5 to 1.6 mt for this top, I feel it is at quite a good price, £9.99 per mt. My next photo shows how the stripes would lie for the sleevebands. I think it looks pretty good, just make sure the stripes are equal on both sleeve bands, piece 5. In fact I would recommend cutting these 2 sleevebands separately to ensure the evenness of the stripe.
Before I end for today I must mention the variation of styles on this pattern. Versions D and E are both sleeveless, the only difference is on the finishing off of the garment. Version D has square Stud Embellishments around the V-neck and version E has a lace insert at the V-neck. I'm loving version B, it's a pity they haven't shown a model wearing this top. You can just make-out on the pattern front that this top has a cross-over back, on turning the pattern over you can see the back a little more clearly. The photo I am showing you shows that it is 2 pieces that wrap over but how you leave a gap in the side seam and then feed through one of the fronts, the other front then laps over. The 2nd photo shows these 2 side seams being sewn. 
My choices of fabric today and this brilliant pattern has got my fingers itching to get on the sewing machine. Must dash and thank you so much for reading.
Annette xx

Guest Post: The Perfect New Year Sewing Project - The Sewaholic Dunbar Top

Hello Everyone!

Its Alex here from Alex's Adventures in Fabric and I am super excited to be writing a guest post here on the Minerva Crafts Blog!

Like most people, I usually start January desperate to get back in the gym after all that festive feasting!  What better motivation to get back than brand new, me-made gym kit? I decided to make the Sewaholic Dunbar Top Pattern. This is a sports vest with a built-in sports bra.  I loved the idea of a built-in sports bra - perfect for pulling on quickly for an early morning gym session, plus I've never sewn any kind of lingerie before and I'm always up for a new sewing challenge!

I chose some lovely, medium weight Cotton Jersey Fabric in turquoisejade for the main part of the body and anthracite grey for the contrast detail. I actually prefer gym clothes in cotton for comfort so these were perfect.

I started the project on one of those strange 'limbo' days between Christmas and New Year.  Not only is sewing the perfect activity for those aimless days, it is still legitimately fine to fuel the creative process with seasonal treats (hence the chocolate coins!):

There were a lot of pattern pieces to cut in three different fabrics (this project uses Power Net for the bra in addition to the main and contrast fabrics).  Although I have an Overlocker, I decided to make the majority of this project on my normal sewing machine, to give more control, especially around some of the trickier details such as the sweetheart contrast detail on the front:

I really took my time matching the pieces to make this detail and was generally pleased with how it turned out, although the point isn't exactly in the middle of the neckline, which is frustrating.  

The bra was slightly confusing to make, and I had to re-read the instructions several times before they sunk in.  I've never seen with power net before and found it a bit tricky.  I felt like I was constructing the bra and not really getting anywhere for ages.  In the end, it came together pretty well with some steady stitching and a lot of pins:

When it came to attaching the bra to the main body, I misread the instructions again and ended up sewing round all exposed areas of neckline, armhole openings and shoulders before realising I couldn't turn it through.

Not for the first time during this project, I became closely reacquainted with my seam ripper...

When attaching the binding to the neckline and armholes, I found that the length given in the instructions wasn't enough and I had to make more. The finish on the binding wasn't brilliant at first, but I got better with practice and would definitely be more confident using this method again for stretch fabrics in future. Finishing the rest of the project was quite straightforward, attaching elastic for the bottom of the bra and hemming the main vest. I decided to use Foam Bra Cups for the bra, for extra support and also a bit of padding.  I was nervous that these would move around while I was working out, so I stitched them in place by hand.

Although my first attempt at the Dunbar top is far from perfect, I really enjoyed making this pattern.  Once I got my head around the instructions and some of the new techniques, I enjoyed the challenge:

I wore it to the gym for the first time on Saturday morning for the ultimate test.  It was fantastically comfortable - much more so than any of my existing sports tops worn with a separate sports bra. The only adjustment I need to make is to change the elastic at the bottom of the bra for wider elastic to give some more support. The patterns calls for wider elastic than I used, I was just trying to use up odds and ends from my stash. I'll definitely be making this again. Once of the beauties of this pattern is that it uses a relatively small amount of each type of fabric so it's a great stash buster. Plus, it's easier to go to the gym when you have new clothes to wear!

Thanks for reading,

Alex x


Guest Post: Boxer Shorts Tutorial by Nicky Broom

A great little gift idea for a man or little boy - the Boxer Short!

Materials Needed

Simplicity Sewing Pattern 8180

1.20m Cotton Fabric for Men, 0.90 for Boys.  Max amount, less required for wider fabrics.

Matching Sewing Thread

19mm wide Elastic

The boxer shorts are made using 3 pattern pieces; front, back & waist elastic casing. Fold pre-washed fabric so it's double with selvage edges together, pin and cut required size.

Transfer markings onto fabric. On left front section mark stitching line with hand basting or using dressmakers carbon paper.

Stitch front to back at leg seam & repeat for other leg.

Finish seams as you go by overlooking, zigzag stitch or pinking shears. (I also finished centre seam edge before joining in next step)

With right sides together pin centre seam, matching inner leg seam & marking. Sew from back upper edge to large dot. Re-sew over the top to strengthen seam.

Baste from waist top edge to large dot along centre front line. Clip to seam line on right hand side seam allowance to allow fly extension to fold towards the Left front.

Press fly extension in place & baste across top edge.

From right side top stitch left front along marked stitching line. Remove basting.

Stitch side seams.

Taking the 2 casing pieces pin right sides together right side seam then left seam leaving an opening between the dots.

Press seams open & stitch seam allowance to casting to stop elastic getting stuck in them when being threaded through.

Fold casing in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Baste raw edges together.

With the gap in casing facing out, pin casing to rightside of shorts matching side seams & centres. Stitch in place.

Finish raw edges. Fold casing up with seam edge facing down. Press.

Cut elastic to waist measurement plus 2.5cm, thread through & secure with safety pin before trying on to fit. 

When adjusted, securely stitch ends of elastic overlapping.

Slip stitch opening.

Check fullness is even all the way around then topstitch through casing & elastic along side seams to prevent elastic from twisting.

To finish hem turn raw edge by 6mm, press then turn up a 2.5cm hem. Stitch & press

You now have your finished shorts :)

To read more from Nicky please head over to her blog SewandSnip!


#PatternOfTheWeek - New Look 6298

Would you like to make a dress that you could sew in a very short time, have a choice of neckline, a choice of sleeve length, a choice of hemline and the choice of fab easy patch pockets that partly sew into the side seam? Add to that made in jersey fabric, no zip, raglan sleeves and a very slight fitted shape which will hide those lumps and bumps left over from Christmas, well look no further than New Look Sewing Pattern 6298. 
At first glance it looks like an elongated jumper, especially version D where there is a separate band sewn round the bottom edge. This band is slightly smaller than the bottom edge, therefore when stitching, the band is stretched slightly to fit the bottom edge of the dress.
I have to say I do think this hemline is very flattering when one is a little apple shaped (guilty!), So if this does appeal to you then I have great pleasure in offering it to you as our #patternoftheweek with 50% off for this week only. Each design is for stretch knits only and do remember if you are unsure of whether there is enough stretch in the fabric just use the pick-a-knit rule as shown on the back of the pattern envelope. Basically this means a 4" piece needs to be able to stretch to 6" reasonably easily for this pattern to be successful. From 4" to 6" is the amount of stretch needed for most patterns, however always check.
Here at Minerva we have 100's of Jersey fabrics but as usual I have tried to replicate the look on the pattern. Yet again I have to mention my favourite range of Ponte Roma Fabric. This is such an amazing fabric, I love it to bits. This comes in an amazing 22 colours. My favourite at the moment is Marl Brown which would quite replicate version B.
Looking at version A the fabric that springs to mind is our Poly Lycra Jersey Fabric. At first glance you would think it was this fabric. This is a 96% polyester and 4% lycra fabric at £9.99 a mt. 
And remember if you are new to dressmaking, a busy pattern can 'hide' one or two little errors!
My next choice, our mambo Spandex Jersey Fabric, replicates version C. This fabric is made from Rayon and Spandex and is also £9.99 a mt. I know on the pattern envelope it is just a drawing but they have tried to show how good it would look if you take time to match the stripes on those pockets and also line up the stripes on the sleeves with the main body.
My last choice for today is a fabulous Boucle Fabric that comes in 3 fab colours - Teal, Purple and Dark Red. Although my choice would usually be the Teal, I keep looking at the red, so rich and warm looking...
This fabric is a combination of 85% Acrylic, 10% Polyester and 5% Wool. It does say to hand wash this fabric but I must say I would be tempted to wash a little piece of this fabric before cutting out just to see what happens. I am pretty sure hand washing is suggested because of the wool content but at just 5% wool I don't think it would shrink much. So if you cut a strip of fabric off, wash and dry it, see what happens. If you are happy with that then wash and dry the whole piece and off you go! Our website description below describes it well and at just £8.99 per mt I feel it is a good buy.

"This beautiful jersey knit fabric has a small amount of wool fibres which give it that soft and fuzzy textured appearance. The boucle texture is just gorgeous and helps give this fabric some weight, making it ideal for making slouchy cardigans and sweaters, skirts and dresses".

As always thanks so much for reading and happy sewing!

Annette xx


#FabricFriday - Denim!

We're talking Denim Fabric today but where to start. Some look upon denim as their favourite pair of jeans or the go-to garment when all else fails. Every fashion shop has rows upon rows of denim garments, both Winter and Summer. So I think we can safely say Denim is everywhere and certainly here to stay. 
The first time I made a garment in Denim was way way back in the late 70's. I made a pair of trousers/jeans. At the time I didn't think it possible to make a pair of 'proper' jeans. The only denim available was quite a heavy denim, certainly not the easiest fabric to work with but somehow I managed to make some brilliant back pockets! Strips of denim were plaited and placed behind a 'window' of denim. Very hard to describe but I can assure you they were my pride and joy and bear in mind I could only look at the jeans in the shop for ideas and remember that info till I got home, what I would have given for a phone/camera (obviously unheard of then) to take a quick pic! 
I look back at this now and smile because although I have still never made a pair of 'proper' jeans, many people have. Take a look at Winnie's blog post on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network and see what a fantastic pair of 'proper' jeans she made. Superb. Although there are some 'proper' jeans patterns in all the main stream patterns, my favourite at the moment is Closet Case Ginger Pattern. This Indie pattern looks exactly like a 'proper' pair of jeans and therefore encourages you into having a go.
Also, way back then, it was the 'in' thing to wear denim garments together as in a shirt or jacket along with your jeans. Over the years this changed to just a pair of jeans or just a jacket but never more than one piece worn together. They do say what goes round comes round because look at the fashion world now, it is again 'cool' to wear denim outfits alongside each other!
So all this leads me to now say "The world is now your oyster" if you fancy making a denim piece. The choice goes way beyond the heavy denims of old (although yes they are still available). This season we have so much choice ranging from different weights to spotted, striped, flowered just to name a few. But today I want to show you the absolute latest to arrive here at Minerva.
First is our gorgeous new Stretch Denim Fabric which comes in 3 colours light, medium and dark blue. This fabric has just that little bit of stretch, similar to a stretch cotton, that makes it a joy to sew. This fabric would easily adapt to a very feminine style such as Kwik Sew Sewing Pattern 4068. This style is so easy to wear and would look fab in the light blue. I love the 3 buttons down the front of the dress and I've chosen these Heart Shape Buttons in red. Wouldn't they look nice?
Taking the buttons a stage further, take a look at our range of Dress it Up Buttons. These are a fantastic range of colouful and varied shape buttons that covers so many subjects, far too many to mention. For here and now I chose 'April Showers' to show you. How pretty and unusual would these look down the front of a dress, there are 8 pieces in 4 colours, 2 of each. I chose 3 of the colours in my next photo but if they looked a little too much, 2 buttons in 1 colour would look brill.
Two shades of this fabric could be used together as in the following photo, using KwikSew Sewing Pattern 4133 and why not go for the ultimate shirt look and use Fashion Snaps down the front as suggested on this pattern. It makes a change from buttons and buttonholes.
Moving on to another denim, we now stock a 4oz Washed Denim Fabric which as you would imagine is fabulously lightweight and soft and would feel wonderful against your skin. It comes in 3 fab shades of blue.
Apart from obvious choices like shirts, dresses etc., this would be ideal where gathers are used. Take a look at the following photo and you can see a fine fabric would be needed for these dungarees, Kwik Sew 4138, because of the gathers. Fab price too, £8.99 per mt and 58" wide.
Last but certainly not least is our new Embossed Denim Fabric. This fabric with a bit of stretch and comes in one shade only but is a very rich blue which is slightly embossed and again at £8.99 per mt, 58" wide is a good buy.
As you can see from the photo this fabric would be perfect for these dungarees or take it a stage further and add some red Stretch Cotton Fabric as a contrast. Take a peek at the top right hand corner of the pattern, New Look Sewing Pattern 6446, see how they've used the red contrast.
Just to throw a spanner in the works take a look at all the gorgeous bias-bindngs that are available these days
I chose this print at random but how pretty does it look? This effect would look great either as a trim on a garment or something around the home and we have so many choices of Patterned Bias Bindings here at Minerva, they really are worth taking a look at and having a think about how you can incorporate them into your designs.
Yes my fellow sewists Denim has come a long way from when it was first introduced as a 'work' fabric in the 1800's. It was produced as a very strong, very tightly woven, very hard wearing and very durable fabric for work wear (usually dungarees) in America. Thank goodness it has come a way since would we cope without our jeans?!
Thanks for reading,
Annette xx

#KnitPicksforEwe - Sirdar Wild

Wild from Sirdar looks like the name suggests. For me it is the most exciting textured yarn I have seen in some time. Take a look at the colours they are simply stunning. 
I class myself as a compulsive knitter and I love knitting in mainly DK and Aran yarns, working in textured, cabled and lace stitches. However I do like something 'easy' on the go. This I class as my 'watching TV' knitting - which is watching TV and occasionally glancing down at the knitting. Wild fits the bill perfectly and on running my fingers along the length of the yarn I know this will be a dream to knit. It is worked on 8mm needles so although a little thicker than chunky it doesn't exactly fit in the super chunky category. The range of Knitting Patterns for this yarn is pretty good, they include ladies and childrens designs plus accessories and even some designs for the home not forgetting the cuddly Husky toy (which is mine and Vicki's favourite!) 
Two patterns really appealed to me, 7970 which is a longline cardigan, either round neck or V neck, coming in sizes 24 to 46 chest or 7968 which is a kimono style wrapover cardigan with a belt, again in the same brilliant size range...
I eventually decided on 7970 for 3 reasons. First, I really love the straight style of this and may knit it a little longer. Second I have some fab buttons in mind and third I fancy knitting the little snood. This takes just one ball and incidentally the pattern comes on the back of the ball band. I think this will give an alternative look to this cardi.
I had no hesitation in choosing the colour, 400 which is aptly named Chinchilla.
I am a size 12 so have decided to knit the 36/38 which actually measures 40". A lot of knitters take too much notice of the 'actual measurement' usually saying something like "that will be too big for me so I'll do a size less than that". My rule is - if you like the fit of the model's garment on the pattern cover then go off the chest/bust measurement. The excess is for ease of movement but if you want it to be very fitted then go off the actual measurements. Remember it is the garment on the pattern and how it fits that model that appealed to you in the first place!
So here is the start of my knitting...
I'll keep you updated and thanks for reading. 
Annette xx
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Guest Post: Tie & Pocket Hankie Tutorial by Nicky Broom

Perfect for a gift or simply to co-ordinate an outfit. Here is a quick make using Simplicity Sewing Pattern 8180.

Materials Needed

0.90m Cotton Lawn Fabric (Pre washed & pressed)

0.70m Lightweight Fusible Interfacing

Matching Sewing Thread

Cutting Out

With sewing getting the straight of grain correct is an important aspect as it allows a the garment to hang correctly. As I was using a woven fabric I used the tear method to find the thread going across the fabric.

To do this make a small cut through selvage edge, then grip both sides of fabric firmly & pull apart.


Iron the pattern pieces to ensure there are no wrinkles distorting the shape. The tie consists of two pieces. Lay these following the grainline & secure in place. I have used a mixture of pins & weights to prevent pattern moving.

Do the same with the 2 interfacing pattern pieces.


Use hand basting to transfer fold lines & markings to fabric.

Join the two sections together at centre, matching the dots, press seam open.

Apply interfacing, overlapping at centre, making sure that it is placed between the two fold lines you marked earlier.

Fold ends along foldlines (right sides together). Secure & stitch.

Trim seam & corner then turn out the right way. Press.

Now fold tie right sides together, matching notches, pin and stitch long edges together.

Turn tie right side out and press.

Hand basting can now be removed. As an added extra why not add a strip of ribbon to back to provide a tie stay for narrow end to be threaded through.

Pocket Hankie

For the matching pocket Hankie cut a square of fabric measuring 26cm.

To neaten edges turn a narrow fold to wrong side & stitch close to edge. 

Then trim close to stitch line. Repeat this on all 4 sides. 

Finally turn each edge over again, stitch and press. 

Now you have the perfect matching pair.

To read more from Nicky please head over to her blog SewandSnip!

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