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Archives: February 2016

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#POW Pattern of the Week - Vogue Lynn Mizono 1455

I hope you liked the Sewing Pattern of the week I shared with you last time even though it was mainly aimed at boys (they do get left out sometimes in our sewing world don't they?). My #POW Pattern of the Week this time couldn't be more different if I tried!! This has to be one of the most beautiful dresses I have ever seen for a little girl. 
It is designed exclusively for Vogue by the American designer Lynn Mizono and is available in sizes 2 to 8 years old. If you have never used patterns designed by Lynn Mizono I can only describe them as quite casual but they always have that 'something extra'. My favourites are when she changes the shape of the hemlines. She uses buttons alongside buttonholes to create unusual drape on the hemlines. And so this little girl's dress is a dream dress. The designer has used her button technique to shape the hem. I would imagine that each time this dress is worn the hemline will hang a little different! 
The dress is made using four different fabrics. Two for the 'outside' and two for the 'inside'. In other words this dress is reversible. For the fabrics I immediately steered towards our fantastic range of cotton Quilting Fabrics and just fell in love with these...
My first photo (above) shows my choice of fabrics altogether. I thought these replicate the fabrics used on the pattern. On my second photo below I have introduced the ribbon I would use along with the pattern. 
Don't you agree these would serve this pattern well?
For the 'outer dress' or side 1, I love these two fabric (above) together; a Timless Treasures Fabric in a floral print and the co-ordinating Fabric along with a 15mm Polka Dot Ribbon in red with white spots on.
And for the 'inner dress' or side 2 I love these two together; Timeless Treasures Fabric and the red Polka Dot Fabric along with 25mm Polka Dot Ribbon in green with white spots on. 
On reading the instructions for the pattern you will find that the pieces are worked together in an unusual way;
This photo shows how the pieces are sewn together.
The photo (above) shows how the hemline is turned up towards the bodice of the dress. Buttons and buttonholes are placed on the side seams and this is the only attachment. And so the hemline drapes in the middle (I hope that makes sense!). On the pattern photo you will notice how there are three of the fabrics showing on the righthand design. On the instructions it states that "additional buttons may be added for varied dress lengths".
So when you look at the pattern, the red dotted fabric is actually the turned up hem of the under dress but fastened on a lower button on the side seam and therefore hangs longer. It really is a most impressive design that is quite easy to sew. It could be made in such a variety of fabrics. The list is endless!
And 'sew' until next week,
Annette xx
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#FabricFriday - Lyocell & Canvas Fabrics

I 'sew' look forward to #FabricFriday! 
There are so many new fabrics each week that arrive here at Minerva HQ but also some fantastic fabrics that have been with us for a while and when you put them with say a new pattern or with new trims a whole new world is opened up to you. And yes that is the beauty of fabrics. My first fabric choice for this week is this linen blend Fabric...
This is a firm favourite with our lovely customers and with myself and by the end of this I'm sure you will see why! It is a gorgeous lyocell and linen blend fabric and although it is classed as a medium to heavy weight it is still quite a 'floaty' fabric and would be absolutely perfect for something like Simplicity Pattern 1883...
This style would take you through spring and summer and would be perfect dressed up with styletos and a hat for a wedding or dressed down with ballet pumps and a sunhat (like the picture) for casual wear. And what to use for the jacket and/or trousers? I so love our Blades Linen Fabric. There are 31 sumptuous shades in this range and it is a blend of 55% linen and 45% cotton. There is a beautiful softness, drape and texture to this fabric and is very easy to sew, perfect for anybody new to dressmaking. Please, please wash and dry first (sorry to be repeating myself). Linen does fray very easily so a good tip is to zigzag around each piece as soon as possible after cutting out. Some would paint around the edge with Fraycheck. I haven't tried that so let me know if you use that method or indeed your thoughts if you are trying it for the first time.
I have teamed together the blue/turquoise lyocell and linen blend fabric with the peacock colour in the blades fabric to show you how they look together...
And now for my last Fabric to show you for this week...
I know you're thinking Annette's made an error here but no I haven't. This is the same design in the same colours but is a stretch cotton canvas.  And so why not make a matching bag! You could make a clutch bag for a wedding or evening wear as in Burda Pattern 7120.
I love version D with the cutout handle. Or for casual wear how about Kwiksew Pattern 3597 (which is on half price sale at the moment!)
This next sewing pattern from simplicity is a handy shopper or could be made into a beach bag. 
This is a simple shoulder bag. The outside could be made in the stretch cotton and possible line it in the blades linen. Use all your bits up! Last but not least my favourite bag pattern at the moment is Simplicity Pattern 1519...
With this pattern you could combine the stretch cotton with the linen for the band. To make this a similar weight you could use a heavy weight iron on interfacing. There is a clutch version as well.
Sew long for now,
Annette xx

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#POW Pattern of the Week - McCalls 6222

The Sewing Pattern I have chose for this weeks pattern of the week is McCalls 6222...
From feedback we get here at Minerva, boys as well as girls are now asking Mums to sew for them. Yes there are still the latest trends in 'what make your t-shirt is or indeed your trainers' but I do think some like the individuality of a made to measure garment! This pattern fits the bill perfectly with a Gilet, a shirt and combat trousers. 
For the Gilet I have chose Fleece Fabric in orange. Our Anti-Pil Polar Fleece fabric is the best quality as it pills and stretches the least. Synthetic fleece is a knit fabric that stretches on the crossgrain. It sheds water, holds body heat, but allows perspiration to escape. Fleece is comfortable and warm and survives years of abuse. It is such a versatile fabric and is widely used for sweatshirts, pull-on pants, jackets, coats, cushions, blankets, throws and much more! A chunky zip in a contrast colour will complete the look. The fabric I have chose for the shirt is a Brushed Tartan Fabric called Glenbarroch. The thin orange line running through the fabric works really well with the orange fleece. The third fabric on this photo shows Gaberchino Fabric in Beige. This is a fabric that is highly suitable for these trousers. It is a medium-heavy weight durable fabric ideal for making uniforms and work clothes, jackets, trousers, skirts, dresses, handbags, cushions, aprons and much more. It is between a gaberdine and a chino fabric - hence the name 'Gaberchino'! It has a twill weave and is non-stretch, machine washable, easy care and easy to sew. 
So with these fabrics you are getting warmth with the brushed tartan and the fleece and durability with all three. 
My next choice of fabrics for this pattern is...
I have chose Corduroy Fabric for the trousers. These would be thicker than the gaberchinos and therefore warmer so could easily replace the fabric above. 
It is an 8 Wale medium weight Corduroy fabric and is machine washable, easy to sew and widely used for tops, skirts, dresses, shirts, structured jackets, trousers and children's clothing. I think of it as a very versatile fabric which is machine washable, non-stretch and easy to sew with. The range of colours is amazing and covers pastels, bright and dark colours. I love the cream in this but if you think the colour  is a little too light for your boy then how about dark brown. The check fabric is a lovely light weight polycotton fabric with a fun and trendy tartan check design - bang on trend this season! This fabric would be perfect for making maxi dresses, skirts, summer dresses, tops and definately this shirt! Just peeping out at the corner of the photo is the orange fleece again perfect with these fabrics. 
Another choice of fabrics is shown in my next photo...
This time I am using the gaberchino for the gilet. It shows this effect on our pattern of the week. For the trousers I quite fancy this Camouflage Fabric. This colourway has more beiges in it and therefore blends really well with all the other fabrics I am using. I love the pockets on the side legs of these trousers and you could always add more pockets if required. 
My last choice of fabrics for this pattern is...
I am thinking more summertime with these two fabrics and I am steering away from the beiges! The Cotton Tartan Fabric again, but this time in a navy and white check. This is a fabulous 100% cotton that is available in a huge range of colours. It is a light-medium weight crisp fabric that is easy to sew, is machine washable and presses like a dream. The photo shows this teamed with our charcoal grey Chambray Fabric. Although the check fabrics base colour is navy they go together really well. 
Thats all for this week fellow sewists. I have a fabulous pattern for you next Monday. Think Blacks and Whites!
Sew long for now,
Annette xx
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#FabricFriday - Washable Wool and Felting Inspiration

Hi everybody!
#FabricFriday again and we still have this cold and windy weather. So with this in mind I so want to share with you our Washable Wool Fabric. I have mentioned it briefly in previous #fabricfridays but only in a small way. This week I am concentrating on the washable wool. It is a medium to heavy fabric with a lovely soft brushed surface. This fabric is named  'washable wool' because it has the look, feel and characteristics of wool, but because it is made from polyester and viscose only, it is washable and easy care. It comes in a lovely range of rich autumn shades and is a great price for such a lovely quality fabric.
Fab for winter coats that will keep you lovely and warm, which leads me to tell you about some great patterns that would suit this fabric really well. I love how the colours have been used in my first choice of pattern which is Vogue Pattern 8958.
I love version D and yes as you can see from the colour range the washable wool comes in both black and red! How very convenient for this pattern! But I won't stop there, how about teaming this pattern with Butterick Pattern 5566.
Version D (how weird, same version D, and both shown in red and black, meant to be perhaps). In the next photo I have tried to show both images together.
The skirt isn't lined but it is just a case of using the same pieces. Make as a separate skirt in lining fabric and then putting wrong sides together finish as one piece within the waist facing. The jacket has just the one button fastening but how about using my way which is make a feature of the buttons up each sleeve. I think in this instance I would use buttons that you cover yourself. This would give you a quite stunning suit that would be described on a designer level!
I do like the idea of a plain white or ivory vest top worn under this suit, but just to throw a spanner in the works how about making a top in a fabric that would harmonize well with the red and black. This is a lovely soft jersey fabric that drapes beautifully in black, red and ivory.
Most of us would have a pattern of a top in our stash but just in case something like McCalls Pattern 6927 would be ideal.
This is a very easy top with a round neckline which I think this jacket needs but with a choice of sleeveless, short or three/quarter length sleeves.
Ive also found another pattern I think would be amazing in our Washable Wool fabric. What do you think of Vogue Pattern 8430;
This is a very loose fitting, unlined, felted jacket. It has dropped shoulders, a raised neckline and an uneven hemline. If you decide you want a felted jacket then there are instructions included in this pattern for just that. However for the purpose of here and now I want to make this jacket in the beautiful washable wool. It is a dream fabric to needle felt on. The sample below is my Granddaughter Jess messing about with colours!
The next picture is my version of the colours used on the pattern. Washable Wool fabric in grey and I've suggested Sirdar Snowflake Chunky in White and Trimits Natural Roving Wool in Red...
Another choice would be the camel washable wool, snowflake chunky again in shade 625 and the roving yarn is the Clover Roving Wool in Brown. Very yummy!!
And not stopping there how about the brown washable wool with snowflake chunky in shade 666 and clover felting wool in 7929 Gold...
But here is my favourite (yes I still love my browns). The Brown washable wool with Sirdar Bouffle 723 and Trimits Natural Roving wool in Cream/Beige...
Now I have decided I am going to make this jacket so I will write a blog post alongside my blisstime of sewing it! I will mention now though (as you've probably gathered) that the washable wool will not felt because it is not pure wool and because of that the cut edges will fray a little. 
This Vogue pattern is intended for felted fabric so there is no facing in the pattern pieces. There is only the back, front and sleeve pieces. So although there are seam allowances on the shoulder, side and sleeve seams (anywhere where two pieces are being joined together) there are none on the edges i.e, bottom edge, sleeve edge and around the front lapels and neckline.
So when I am making this jacket I will need to do something with the edges. My first thought was to use bias binding. The one I love the most is the one shown on my photo; 
This is a linen look bias binding - which is the darker of the two shades. This matches really well with the colours I am using. However I have spent a little time with my sewing machine trying different ways of attaching the Bouffle yarn along the raw edge and hey it's worked!
I will talk more about that when I am making it. I am so excited about starting this project as I have never done needle felting on a garment. Hehe I can't wait!
Annette xx
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#POW Pattern of the Week - Butterick 5867

Hi Everyone. If you are a dog lover and a quilter it could be said that our pattern of the week this week is just for you!
The bag is a dog carrier with a little 'window' for it to look out of! How cute!
But considering the shape of it, it would make a fab bag for anything. 
Then there is an organiser which on the pattern photo has all doggy things in it but that could be used for a multitude of things. I think I would keep my jewellery in it, hung on the back of my bedroom door. 
Now the next is definitely for the dog because it is an indoor kennel! I can't think of any other uses for this can you haha! But I must show this to my daughter and granddaughter for their little dog Minnie. She would just love cosying up in this, oh and I mustn't forget to mention the bone!
For those of you not familiar with printed sewing patterns, this image below shows you the shape of all the pieces included in this particular pattern. 
So immediately I can see that the items on this pattern are made mostly from small pieces. So the reason I mentioned quilters is now obvious. Get your stash of off-cuts out. Patterns like this are brilliant to use some of these up. You could go completely mad and cut every single piece from a different fabric. If you feel some of your stash pieces are too thin of a fabric you could always iron on an interfacing to give them some body. 
For pattern A which is the 'bone' I would suggest Fleece Fabric if possible, especially if you have any off cuts. To be fair this could be made out of absolutely anything, stuffed with a bit of toy filling or be very cost effective and stuff it with old tights! These are ideal to make for craft fairs or small gifts. 
For view B which is the organiser I would say it depends what you are using it for. For me I would have to make it in Timeless Treasures Fabric with a Make Up design.
This fabric has every girly thing possible on it. Hairdryers and brushes. Lipsticks and nail varnish. False eyelashes and even razors!! 
How about making one for your sewing room? Our tape measure Cotton Poplin Fabric would be ideal. It comes in four colourways so you could colour coordinate.
Or how about our Timeless Treasures Sewing Tools Poplin Fabric.
This would look brilliant in my sewing room. It has everything to do with sewing on it. Reels of thread and Needles. Sewing Machines and Irons. Pins and Scissors and is all against a hexagonal background. And indeed if it is for all the doggy bits and pieces how about one of our many Dog Print Fabrics
This brings me to the indoor dog kennel, how nice would that be in a doggy fabric? My choices would be Timeless Treasures Dogs Fabric...
The Dogs are so realistic.
This Fabric is another lovely choice. It comes in four stunning colours but my favourite is the black.
This K9 Cronicles Fabric would look good in most any room...
And last but not least...
Those of you who follow my blog will know I've mentioned this Fabric before. At first glance it looks like a dogtooth check but on closer examination hey ho it is of scottie dogs and comes in nine super colours!
As always, my Sewing Pattern of the week has 50% off, but for one week only!
Until next time my furry, sorry, sewing friends :)
Annette xx
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#FabricFriday - Linens!

Hello There!
For this weeks #FabricFriday I am with linens again! Yes I must admit linens are up there with my favourite fabrics. As I often mention please wash and dry them first. Then instead of having say a pair of linen trousers from your favourite department store that are hung up more or less permanently in your wardrobe because they may shrink in the wash, you could now be wearing your lovely fitting selfmade trousers all the time because they are so easy to wash!
Now the Sewing Pattern I have chosen to showcase as inspiration for these fabrics has been around a long time. It is New Look 6163.
This pattern has stood the test of time. First of all it is shown in navy and white which pretty much appeals to most people. I know I choose a lot of patterns which at first might appear similar (as in lots of seperates together) but I do like to get value for my money. And yes this pattern fits the bill! 
There is a long coat (which could easily be made into a shorter jacket), trousers, skirt and top. I love this in the colourway shown as the main picture on the pattern. I have chosen the following linen fabrics to show you today...
Blades linen in Navy and White and for the top I love our Patterned Linen and Cotton blend Fabric from John Kaldor. So smart! Here's a larger picture of that patterned linen...
The unlined jacket has splits at the sides so remember that what you wear underneath will show at the sides and because of that I would be very tempted to make the skirt in the same fabric as the top. The top has a combined armhole and neck facing which on some patterns the instructions can be quite difficult, however on this pattern it is lovely and straightforward.
As you will notice on the second picture the fastening at the back of the neck is made with a loop. This isn't as hard as it looks and it gives a flat edge to edge fastening. (Sorry this picture is a bit fuzzy).
See you next week
Annette xx
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#POW Pattern of the Week - Butterick 5537

I have chosen a Dressing Gown Sewing Pattern for this weeks Pattern of the week! 
We sometimes forget that nightwear or lounge wear is just as 'makeable' as the dresses, tops, skirts and trousers that we constantly make. In the past I have made for myself three fleece dressing gowns, two cotton ones, dressing gowns for my children and numerous nightdresses. They are usually very easy to make. 
View A on this pattern shows a long robe which would be fantastic in Fleece Fabric. They are so cosy ( I usually make a size bigger then I can wrap myself up in it). 
We have lots of Plain Fleece in our fabric collection with a colour for everybody...
Or how about a Patterned Fleece? For the man in your life how about a plaid check? This one is a navy/green plaid quite similar to blackwatch tarten.
Just remember to purchase enough to match the checks!
Another very suitable fabric would be Sweatshirt Fabric. As the term sweatshirt fabric would suggest, this fabric is what is used for sweatshirts. The right side of the fabric has a jersey appearance (knitted) and the inside is what I want to shout about. It is so so soft..yummy, yummy and even more yummy!
The shorts or long pyjama pants have a fly opening but this is easily missed out if not needed. My first choice for the pyjamas is Cotton Poplin Fabric. The range for this is vast. There are lots of plain cottons, striped, dotted, flowery even musical. In fact there is probably a fabric for any subject. Here are a couple of my favourites...
I just love the multi colours and multi sized spots on this Fabric.
Although there are four lovely colours in this Fabric, this is my favourite. I do tend to lean towards browns and beiges a lot don't I?
I love the teeny tiny size of this Fabric Design compared to my last choice.
Last but not least I would like to mention Polycotton Fabric. At just £2.99 per metre this is amazing value. Again the choice of colours and designs is immense so you can really have fun playing with different prints. 
Dont forget, if you would like to have a go at this Sewing Pattern, there is 50% off it here at Minerva for one week only!
And to my fellow sewists, until next time...!
Annette xx
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#FabricFriday - Olive Green Inspiration

I can't imagine a life without sewing can you? Mind you I can't imagine a life without knitting and crochet either!! I am so enjoying myself sorting all these wonderful fabrics for #FabricFriday. I just wish I had more time to sew. Then again don't we all. 
Again this week I have gathered a few fabrics together that blend really well.
I have chosen a pattern that would work well for them and that is Simplicity Pattern 2372.
I love the little tucks in the shoulders of the jacket and the pleat down the centre back. I adore little details like this. They add a designer element to the garment. 
For spring time I would love to make this jacket in our Lime Green Blades Linen Fabric which is 55% linen and 45% cotton (this is the fabric on the left in the photo below). This is a heavier weight fabric, comes in lots of gorgeous colours and would be an ideal weight for this jacket. 
Now for the trousers or skirt and I am opting for the same fabric but this time in Khaki Green colour (the fabric on the right in the photo below). 
It is a long time since I have seen a pattern for a skirt or trousers that is as easy as this. There isn't even a band to sew around the top. You just turn the top down and hem it. This is all you have to do to form the casing for the elastic.
My third choice of fabric for #FabricFriday is one of our Floral Print Cotton Lawn Fabrics. This is a beautiful cotton lawn and blends with these two blades linens so well don't you think? 
I would either make the top or the dress in this fabric. Neither of them have a zip and the dress flares out a little at the bottom. As well as having tucks in the sleeves like the jacket the dress and top have tucks at the front neckline. This should give a very flattering fit for most figures. The last detail I would like to mention is the button on the jacket.
Some people will like their button to 'blend in' to the fabric and for that I have chose Dill Button 370638 in Lemon Yellow (this blends in beautifully beleive it or not!). This is what I like to call a squarcle (somewhere inbetween a square and a circle) with a marble finish. The second button I have chosen, which will create more of a statement, is Dill Button 347606 in Olive Green. This is a chunkier button, very flat and goes really well on the darker fabric so therefore would stand out on the paler fabric.
Hope you have enjoyed reading,
Happy sewing,
Annette xx
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#POW Pattern of the Week - Butterick 6109

What do you think of when you see our Sewing Pattern of the week this week?
I immediately think interview! This is such a versatile pattern. It includes a fitted, lined jacket, a skirt which could be easily adapted to a lined skirt, fitted trousers, a top and a gorgeous dress with a beautiful flounce around the hemline. There are some fantastic tweeds and other fabrics too that would look good in this suit and would be suitable for a formal interview. 
My first fabric choice for this pattern is our Mini Dog Tooth Check Stretch Suiting Fabric.
This fabric has a wonderful soft finish to it probably due to its viscose content. The elastane content gives it a one way stretch which helps towards achieving a perfect fit. I would imagine it will be very comfortable to wear. This picture below is a close up picture of the fabric so you can get a better idea of the small dog tooth check, it is quite effective.
As you can see in the first photo, Ive teamed this suiting fabric with one of our Stretch Cotton Fabrics as below.
This is a stretch cotton and is a very good weight for this skirt. If I was wearing this in winter and especially with the jacket, I would definitely line it with a good weight lining fabric. I would use this same lining for the jacket as well.
But if it is for spring I think it would feel nice just in the cotton. Likewise this fabric would be ideal for the top, maybe worn with a belt round the waist as shown on version B/D of the pattern.
My next choice of fabric to team with the Suiting Fabric to use as the top would be this Cotton Poplin Fabric...
This is quite a small print with beautiful colours running through it. 
Ive photographed it together with the suiting fabric so you can see how well they look together...
As you will see on my pictures, the buttons I have chose blend perfectly. The mustard centre matches with both fabrics. Although it only gives instructions for buttons on the front of the jacket how about getting a smaller size and sewing some of these on the back of the sleeves?
My last choice of fabric is for the dress with the flounced hemline and that is our Animal Print Soft Polyester Fabric.
This is 100% polyester and would drape superbly. It would be hard to find a more suitable fabric for this dress. However the mustard buttons I feel would be a little bright so I have chose the same button but in a different colour to complete this look...
These are Dill 370596 in the larger size and 310768 in the smaller size. Last but not least I would mention that the pattern suggest 3/4" buttons and the ones I've chosen measure a good inch. This must be reflected in your size of buttonhole but apart from that there is no reason not to use a button that is a little bigger.
If you would like to pick up a copy of this Sewing Pattern, dont forget its 50% off for this week only!
Until next time,
Annette xx

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